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LIFE    OF    SIR   JOHN 
BEVERLEY     ROBINSON 


PREFACE 


THE  ancient  and  famous  nations  of  the  world  have 
ever  cherished  carefully  the  traditions  of  their  early 
history.  Sometimes  these  traditions  strike  the  key- 
note of  a  great  destiny ;  sometimes  they  furnish  the 
inspiration  which  secures  it.  In  either  case  they  are 
among  the  most  valuable  of  national  assets. 

A  young  country  does  well  to  take  careful  note, 
in  like  manner,  of  all  that  is  best  in  its  past.  The 
figures  in  the  history  may  or  may  not  be  of  heroic 
stature — the  work  done  may  or  may  not  be  on  a 
grand  scale.  But  it  is  foundation  work,  the  sig- 
nificance of  which  grows  with  the  lapse  of  time. 
Fortunate  the  State  which,  looking  back  upon  its 
early  builders,  finds  their  characters  stamped  with 
the  unquestioned  hall-mark  of  truth  and  honour- 
finds  their  actions  controlled  by  clear  purpose  and 
high  principle.  As  an  example  and  an  inspiration 
the  memory  of  such  builders  cannot  be  too  care- 
fully preserved  or  too  closely  studied. 

It  is  with  this  thought  in  my  mind  that  I 
commend,  to  Canadian  youth  particularly,  this 
biography  of  Sir  John  Beverley  Robinson,  as  that 
of  a  man  whose  private  character  and  public  service 
establish  a  standard  to  which  they  may  aspire  with 
boundless  advantage  to  themselves  and  to  their 
country.  Never,  it  seems  to  me,  could  it  better  be- 
come our  young  men  to  hold  before  them  so  high 
a  standard  for  admiration  and  emulation  than  at 


viii  PREFACE 

the  present  time,  when  the  great  future  that  lies 
before  Canada  is  gradually  unfolding  itself,  and  we 
begin  to  realise  how  large  a  place,  as  the  greatest 
daughter  nation  connected  with  the  Empire,  she  is 
destined  to  take  in  the  world. 

We  Canadians  have  reason  to  be  content  with 
the  beginnings  of  our  country's  history.  In  them 
may  be  found  all  the  charm  of  romance,  the  fervour 
of  patriotism,  the  severe  glory  of  suffering  and  self- 
sacrifice  on  behalf  of  ideals. 

Over  the  early  history  of  French  Canada  the 
zeal  of  the  Jesuit  missionary,  the  daring  of  the 
adventurous  explorer,  the  chivalry  of  the  French 
courtier,  have  thrown  a  glamour  of  poetic  charm 
which  gathers  depth  of  colour  with  the  lapse  of 
years,  and  furnishes  a  striking  and  brilliant  back- 
ground to  the  somewhat  prosaic  conditions  of 
modern  life  and  progress. 

The  great  struggle  which  marked  the  end  of 
this  period,  and  led  to  the  fall  of  the  French  power 
on  the  American  Continent,  was  a  conflict  of 
giants :  on  either  side  leaders  who  were  masters  in 
war  and  in  statesmanship ;  followers  stamped  with 
the  stubborn  courage  of  two  of  the  world's  strongest 
races,  and  hardened  by  the  rough  life  of  the  New 
World.  French  and  British  Canadian  alike  can 
read  with  honourable  pride  a  page  of  history  illumi- 
nated by  the  genius  of  Wolfe,  the  chivalric  heroism 
of  Montcalm,  and  the  bravery  of  soldiers  who  held 
life  cheap  in  the  service  of  King  and  Country. 

Under  the  British  flag  this  heritage  of  noble 
tradition  was  immeasurably  enlarged.  When  the 
Revolution  of  1775-83  severed  the  other  colonies 
of  England  in  America  from  the  mother  land, 
Canada  received  most  of  those  who  in  the  revolted 


PREFACE  ix 

colonies  had  remained  loyal,  amid  defeat  and  perse- 
cution, to  the  old  flag  and  to  British  institutions. 
These  Loyalists,  driven  or  self-exiled  for  conscience' 
sake  from  the  land  of  their  birth,  kindled  in  Canada 
that  passionate  attachment  to  the  idea  of  a  United 
Empire  which  has  controlled  the  policy  of  the 
country  for  more  than  a  century,  is  a  dominant 
force  in  its  politics  to-day,  and  has  contributed 
more,  perhaps,  than  any  other  single  factor  to 
determine  the  future  of  the  Empire  itself. 

The  war  of  1812  followed  to  test  the  strength 
of  this  attachment.  In  this  war  the  Loyalist  of 
Upper  Canada  and  the  Frenchman  of  Lower 
Canada  were  knit  together  in  resistance  to  unjusti- 
fied aggression.  By  the  unyielding  courage  then 
displayed  in  the  face  of  what  seemed  overwhelm- 
ing odds,  the  territorial  integrity  of  Canada  and 
the  security  of  the  Empire  in  America  were  honour- 
ably maintained.  Again,  when  rebellion  reared  its 
head  in  1837,  and  a  discontented  minority  hoped 
to  repeat  the  experience  of  1775,  the  forces  of 
loyalty  were  strong  enough  to  assert,  once  for  all, 
a  superiority  which  has  never  since  been  questioned. 

Thus  two  centuries  of  struggle  and  adventure 
lend  picturesqueness  to  the  birth  of  Canada,  and 
furnish  ample  material  for  an  inspiring  history. 

But  the  toils  and  triumphs  of  peace  are  not  less 
honourable  or  less  important  than  those  of  war. 

The  career  of  Sir  John  Robinson  links  together 
that  stirring  period  of  1812-14  when  the  fate  of  the 
country  was  decided  by  force  of  arms,  and  the  later 
constructive  stage  when,  in  Legislature  and  Law 
Court,  were  laid  the  social  and  political  founda- 
tions of  a  vast  and  peaceful  State,  self-governing  and 
mistress  of  its  own  destiny,  but  yet  holding  firmly 


x  PREFACE 

to  the  principles  of  national  life  in  which  it  was 
cradled.  His  boyhood  was  one  fitted  to  develop 
strength  of  character.  His  father,  who  had  wrecked 
his  fortunes  by  adherence  to  the  British  cause  in 
Virginia,  died  when  he  was  quite  young.  Thus  he 
early  learned  those  hard  lessons  of  poverty  and 
adversity,  so  common  in  the  pioneer  life  of  a  new 
country — so  useful  in  the  cultivation  of  qualities 
which  make  for  success. 

A  fortunate  chance  placed  him  in  school  days 
under  the  care  and  guidance  of  Dr.  Strachan,  a 
man  whose  masculine  intellect  has  left  a  profound 
impression  upon  the  educational,  ecclesiastical,  and 
political  life  of  Upper  Canada.  It  impressed  the 
individual  scholar  as  well.  The  stern  disciplinarian 
was  also  the  devoted  friend,  and  the  perfect  candour 
of  intercourse  between  the  two  men  exhibits  an 
almost  ideal  relationship  between  teacher  and  pupil. 
From  this  strong  master  young  Robinson  seems  to 
have  caught  much  of  the  deep  sense  of  Christian 
duty,  the  unusual  capacity  for  labour,  and  the 
habits  of  accurate  thought,  which  marked  his  whole 
subsequent  life. 

The  weighty  responsibilities  of  manhood  were 
quickly  thrust  upon  him.  Before  he  was  twenty- 
one  he  had  served  with  distinction  under  General 
Brock,  the  especial  hero  of  Canadian  history,  with 
whom  he  was  present  at  the  surrender  of  Detroit, 
and  at  the  battle  of  Queenston  Heights,  where 
Brock  fell.  He  had  also  in  the  same  year  been 
named  as  Acting  Attorney- General  for  Upper 
Canada,  after  the  death  of  the  Attorney-General,  j 
who  fell  in  the  same  battle. 

When  the  war  was  over  he  betook  himself  to  /  < 
England  to  complete  his  legal  studies  and  to  im-  j 


PREFACE  xi 

prove  his  mental  equipment  by  foreign  travel.  To 
the  responsible  and  bracing  experiences  of  his  Cana- 
dian life  he  now  added,  as  these  records  show, 
familiarity  with  much  of  what  was  best  in  the 
social,  legal,  and  political  atmosphere  of  the  mother 
land.  Thus  it  was  that  the  vigour  and  independ- 
ence of  thought  begotten  of  pioneer  life  in  the  new 
world  were  supplemented  in  him  by  an  old  world 
breadth  of  experience  and  courtesy  of  manner  which 
added  to  his  power  and  charm,  and  which  are  said 
to  influence  even  to  the  present  day  the  Bench  and 
Bar  of  his  native  province. 

Returning  to  Canada,  he  was  appointed  Attorney- 
General  in  1818  and  elected  to  the  House  of  Assembly 
in  1821.  Rising  steadily  through  the  various  stages 
of  professional  success  he  became  in  1829  Chief- 
Justice  of  Upper  Canada,  and  in  virtue  of  that  office, 
President  of  the  Executive,  and  Speaker  of  the  Legis- 
lative Council.  The  last  two  positions  he  vacated  in 
the  course  of  a  few  years,  as  the  system  of  responsible 
government  became  more  clearly  defined  ;  the  Chief- 
Justiceship  he  filled  for  thirty-three  years,  until  he 
became  President  of  the  Court  of  Appeal  in  1862, 
the  year  before  his  death.  How  his  judicial  duties 
were  performed  may  be  inferred  from  two  notes  in 
his  memoranda  made  in  1854,  the  one  recording  the 
fact  that  in  the  previous  twenty-four  years  there 
had  only  been  five  appeals  to  England  from  the 
decisions  of  his  court,  and  that  not  one  of  these 
had  been  reversed ;  the  second  mentioning  that  in 
these  twenty-four  years  there  had  been  absolutely 
no  arrears  in  his  department  of  the  judicial  business 
of  the  country.  This  record,  noted  with  modest 
pride,  has  probably  few  parallels  in  the  judicial 
history  of  Canada,  or  of  Greater  Britain. 


xii  PREFACE 

Of  his  legislative  activities  only  the  merest  out- 
line can  find  place  in  a  sketch  such  as  this.  But 
the  references  to  his  connection  with  such  vexed 
questions  as  the  Rebellion  of  1837,  Lord  Selkirk's 
erratic  government  in  the  Hudson  Bay  Territory, 
the  Clergy  Reserves,  Lord  Durham's  report,  and 
the  Union  of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada,  will  be 
read  with  deep  interest  for  the  sake  of  the  side- 
lights thrown  upon  Canadian  history  at  one  of  its 
most  critical  periods.  His  influence  in  the  decision 
of  many  Canadian  questions  was  of  a  twofold  kind. 
Sundry  public  missions  on  which  he  was  sent  to 
England,  and  a  longer  visit  caused  by  ill-health, 
brought  him  much  in  contact  with  the  leaders  of 
English  thought  and  politics.  Thus  while  his  inti- 
mate knowledge  of  affairs  and  the  strength  and 
sincerity  of  his  convictions  commanded  public  con- 
fidence and  the  respect  even  of  opponents  in  Canada, 
his  opinions  had  also  great  weight  in  England, 
where  he  was  freely  consulted  by  the  Duke  of 
Wellington,  Colonial  Ministers,  and  others  responsible 
for  the  direction  of  Imperial  policy.  In  giving  advice 
he  furnished  no  ground  even  for  the  suspicion  that 
he  would  sacrifice  for  Imperial  interests  any  just 
right  of  his  colony.  His  example  is  an  abiding 
proof  that  loyalty  to  the  Empire  as  a  whole  is  not 
inconsistent  with  loyalty  to  any  of  its  parts. 

A  biography  like  this  brings  out  in  strongest 
relief  the  supreme  value  of  character  in  public  as 
in  private  life.  Personal  and  family  detail  may  be 
of  limited  interest :  this  broader  teaching  goes  to  the 
root  of  national  welfare.  Characters  such  as  that 
of  Sir  John  Beverley  Robinson  give  distinction  and 
dignity  to  a  country's  history. 

GEORGE   R.   PARKIN. 


CONTENTS 


i  -HA  I'.  PAGE 

I.   FAMILY   AND   EMILY   LIFE       .....  1 

II.  THE  AMERICAN  WAR  —  CAMPAIGN    OF  1812       .         .  29 

III.  CLOHNG    YKM<>   OF  THI    WAR,    1813-15            .          .  53 

IV.  LlFL     IN      K\(.  LAND  -  OCTOBER    1815  TO  AUGUST   18l6  79 

V.   TH  \\KL-  ON  THE  CONTINENT,  TO  THE  ENGLISH  LAN 

AM)     IN     S«)TL\M),    ETC.  -  1816-1  7          .               .              .  105 

VI.    M\RRIA(.E     APPOINTED  ATTORNEY-GENERAL  —  WORK 

AT     THE     B\K     AND    IN    THE     Hol'.-i:    oF    ASSEMBLY  - 

>     ........  135 


VII.  AT    THE    BAK    AND   IN    THE    HOUSE    OF   ASSEMBLY 

(  Con  h  fined)  —  1824--JS  .....         l6l 

VIII.   ON   THE  BENCH   AND  IN  THE   LEGISLATIVE   COUNCIL 

(THE  CANADIAN  REBELLION)  —  1829-38         .        .      199 

IX.   THE    DritiiAM    REPORT  —  THE  UNION  BILL  —  VIEWS 

Afl  TO  CONFEDERATION,  ETC.  —  1838-40         .          .       237 

X.  JOURNAL    AND    (  .'ORR.:>PONDENCE    IN     ENGLAND  — 

OCTOBER  1838  TO  DECEMBER   1839     .         .         .270 

XI.  JOURNAL    AND     CORRESPONDENCE    IN    ENGLAND  — 

DECEMBER   1839  TO  APRIL   1840          .          .          .        293 

XII.  JUDICIAL  LIFE  —  HOME  LIFE  —  1840-51  .          .          .        313 

XIII.   UNIVERSITIES    OF     KING'S    COLLEGE    AND     TRINITY 

COLLEGE     ........        342 

xiii 


xiv  CONTENTS 

CHAP.  PAGE 

XIV.  JOURNAL  AND  CORRESPONDENCE  WHILE  IN  ENGLAND, 

ETC.— 1855 364 

XV.  CLOSING    YEARS — BECOMES    PRESIDENT    COURT    OF 

ERROR  AND  APPEAL — 1856-63    ....  392 

XVI.  CONCLUSION — PERSONAL  CHARACTERISTICS,  ETC.       .  403 

APPENDICES 409 

INDEX   .  477 


PLATES 


JOHN   BEVERLEY    ROBINSON   (photogravure)  Frontispiece 

JOHN   BEVERLEY   ROBINSON  (photogravure)  To  face  p.  101 
(After  a  miniature,  by  Herw,  London,  181 0.) 

MAP  OF  CANADA   .  490 


ERRATA 

Page  23,  line  12,  for  "  Job  xxvii.  6,"  read  "  Job  xxvii.  5  and  6." 
Pages  171  and  172,  for  "  Sir  Griffin  Wilson  "  read  "  Sir  Giffin 


Wilson.1 


THE    LIFE    OF 

SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

BART. 
CHAPTER  I 

FAMILY   AND   EARLY   LIFE 

Introductory — Family — Parentage — School  and  student  life — Christopher 

Kohin>on  Colonel  I'everley  I\ohin>on  and  his  sons  Chri>toplier 
Rohinson,  "Quern's  Hangers"  The  Rev.  John  Say  re.  Dr.  Stuart, 
Mr.  Strarhan,  .lud^e  Houlton,  Colonel  Maedonell -- The  United 
Knipire  Loyalists  :  their  position  after  tlie  Re\-olutionary  War  - 
letter  from  General  Israel  Putnam  Christopher  Robinson's  death  : 
his  children — Dr.  Stuart's  and  Mr.  Straehan's  kindness— John 
lieverley  Rohinson  placed  at  school  under  the  latter — Letters  from 
Dr.  Stuart — School  life  at  Cornwall  -Address  of  Mr.  Strarhan  to  his 
pupils  :  their  presentation  of  plate  to  him  in  after  years — Enters 
Mr.  Boultoifs  office — Letters  of  Mr.  Strarhan  and  I>r.  Stuart — Mr. 
lioulton  taken  prisoner  hy  the  1'Yeneh  Death  of  Dr.  Stuart  and 
K-ther  Kohinson — Knters Colonel  Maedonell's  office — The  Macdonells 
of  (ilentrarry — Aet>  as  Clerk  of  the  House  of  Assembly  instead  of  Mr. 
Donald  Mat-lean — Vote  of  the  House. 

MANY  of  those  who  knew  my  father  have  expressed 
their  regret  that  in  Canada,  where  he  lived  and  died, 
and  with  a  part  of  whose  history  he  was  so  intimately 
connected,  no  Life  or  very  complete  Memoir  of  him 
has  hitherto  been  published. 

This  has  led  to  my  putting  these  pages  together, 
but  I  am  very  sensible  of  the  disadvantages  which  must, 
in  some  respects,  attend  their  being  written  by  a  son. 

I  have,  therefore,  preferred  to  let  the  story  of 
his  life  be  told,  as  far  as  practicable,  either  in  his 


2      SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON      CH. 

own  words  —  through  his  writings,  speeches,  and 
journals l — or  in  those  of  others,  through  their  letters 
to  or  notices  of  him. 

He  left  behind  him,  partly  for  the  information 
of  his  children,  a  memorandum,  written  in  the  later 
years  of  his  life,  and  touching  upon  certain  portions 
of  it.  It  was  in  no  sense  an  autobiography,  and  it 
must  be  borne  in  mind  that  it  was  not  intended  by 
him  for  publication  in  any  shape.  This  I  have  largely 
quoted  from,  placing  usually  near  the  beginning  of 
each  chapter  what  he  himself  has  written  respecting 
the  events  referred  to  in  it,  and  adding  to  that 
whatever  may  seem  of  interest  in  connection  with 
his  account,  and  tend  to  bring  the  whole  into  a  con- 
tinuous narrative.  Some  matters  more  of  purely 
family  than  of  general  interest,  but  which  it  may  be 
convenient  for  his  descendants  to  have  a  record  of,  I 
have  placed  apart  in  Appendix  B. 

To  enter  into  every  event  affecting  Canada  in 
which  he  bore  a  part  has  not  been  attempted  or 
possible  in  the  space  of  these  pages ;  and,  in  allud- 
ing to  those  principal  questions  which  in  their  day 
aroused  strong  feeling  and  controversy,  I  have  en- 
deavoured to  write  in  the  spirit  which  he  would 
have  approved. 

A  man  of  deep  and  consistent  convictions  himself, 
and  for  many  years  in  Canada  the  leader  of  a  party 
in  Parliament,  he  was  necessarily  often  in  opposition 
to  others.  What  I  think  he  would  have  wished  his 
descendants  to  claim  for  him  is  that,  when  he  was 
so,  he  believed  that  he  was  in  the  right,  and  that, 
throughout  his  life,  he  never  deviated,  by  word  or 

1  When  away  from  home,  he  was  in  the  habit  of  regularly  keeping-  a 
journal,  but  not  at  other  times. 


i  FAMILY  AND  EARLY  LIFE  3 

act,  from  what  his  conscience  dictated  to  be  his 
duty  towards  his  country.  But,  while  I  do  claim 
this,  I  willingly  concede  to  his  political  opponents 
convictions  as  sincere  as  his  own. 


My  Ft  it  her*.*  Account  of  hi*  Family  and  Early  Life. 

first  of  our  family  to  COMIC  to  America  was  Christopher 
Robinson,  who  was  Private  Secretary  to  the  Governor  of 
Virginia,  Sir  William  Berkeley,  ami  continued  in  that  colony 
till  his  death  about  1(19;>.  lie  was  the  son  of  John  Robinson 
of  Cleasby,  in  York>hire,  and  elder  brother  of  Dr.  John 
Kobinson,  Bishop  of  Bristol  and  afterwards  of  London,  who 
was  the  British  Plenipotentiary  at  the  Treaty  of  Utrecht  in 
1713,  and  for  some  years  Briti>h  Minister  to  Sweden,  of  which 
country  he  wrote  an  account.  I  believe  he  was  the  last  ecclesi- 
a>tic  \\ho  was  so  employed.1 

Christopher  Robinson  had  a  son  John,  who  became  President 

of  the  Council  of  Virginia,  ami  married  Catherine,  daughter  of 

Robert    1!  by  whom   he  had  many  sons.     One  of  these 

.'•ell  known  in  Virginia  as  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Burgesses, 

as  it  was  then  called. 

Another,  the  youngest,  w.isBeyerlev,  who,  having  sought  his 
fortunes  in  New  York,  became  a  merchant  there,  and  married 
a  daughter  of  Frederick  Philipse,  with  whom  he  acquired  a 
large  properlv,  situated  on  the  Hudson  River,  that  would  now 
have  been  a  possession  of  immense  value,  but  which  he  forfeited 
by  his  adherence  to  the  Crown  in  the  Revolutionary  War.2 

lie  raised  a  regiment  of  his  tenantry  called  "The  King's 
Loval  Americans"1  which  he  commanded  during  the  war,  and 
the  officers  and  men  at  the  peace  settled  in  Nova  Scotia,  New 
Brunswick,  and  Canada.  Some  account  of  him  is  given  in  the 
Gentleman  s  Ma^a::ine  for  the  year  1792,  in  the  obituary  of 


1  Some  further  account  of  Christopher  and  Dr.  John  Robinson  is 

in  Appendix  B.,  I.  and  11.     The  former  died  as  Secretary  lor  the  Colony 
of  Virginia. 

His  house,  Beverley  House  on  the  Hudson,  was  the  scene  of  some 
interesting  events  in  the  war,  and  at  one  time  the  headquarters  of 
Washington  (see  Appendix  B.,  II.). 


4      SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON      CH. 

May  in  that  year.  He  himself  died  at  Bath,  having  removed 
to  England  after  the  war. 

A  more  particular  account  of  him  is  to  be  found  in  Sabine's 
"  History  of  the  American  Loyalists/1 

The  late  General  Sir  Frederick,  and  Commissary- General 
Sir  William  Robinson1  were  both  sons  of  Colonel  Beverley 
Robinson,  and  he  had  others,  who  removed  to  New  Brunswick, 
where  their  descendants  now  are  numerous. 

My  father  (Christopher),  born  and  brought  up  in  Virginia, 
was  the  son  of  one  2  of  the  many  brothers  of  Colonel  Beverley 
Robinson,  and  being  a  youth  at  William  and  Mary  College  in 
Williamsburg,  the  capital  of  Virginia  during  the  Revolutionary 
War,  he  left  college  and  made  his  way  to  the  British  army,  and 
afterwards  to  his  uncle,  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson,  in  whose 
family  he  resided  until  he  received  a  commission  from  Sir  Henry 
Clinton  in  Colonel  Simcoe's  Legion,3  as  it  was  called. 

He  served  in  this  corps  till  the  peace,  and  then  removed 
with  other  Loyalists  to  New  Brunswick.  He  was  the  only  one 
of  his  own  branch  of  the  family  who  adhered  to  the  royal 
cause,  and  he  became  in  consequence  entirely  estranged  and 
separated  from  them.  In  New  Brunswick  he  married,  in 
1784,4  the  daughter  of  the  Rev.  John  Sayre,  one  of  two 
brothers  who  had  been  sent  as  missionaries  to  the  American 
Colonies  by  the  Society  for  Propagating  the  Gospel,  and  of 
whom  Mr.  Stokes,  his  Majesty's  Chief  Justice  of  Georgia, 
thus  speaks  in  his  book  upon  the  constitution  of  the  British 
Colonies  in  North  America  and  the  West  Indies  at  the  time 
of  the  breaking  out  of  the  Civil  War  on  the  continent  of 
America.6 

1  See  Appendix  B.,  III. 

'2  \Villiain  Kobius.Mi,  born  about  1763,  of  the  county  of  Spotsylvania 
in  Virginia. 

3  IH-  commission  is  dated  June  26,  1781,  and  it  appears  in  a  letter 
from    liis   widow   to   Sir   John  Weutworth   that   he  was   then  eighteen 
years   of  ;i:re.     Sec   Appendix  A.,  IV.,   for  some  further  particulars  as 
to  the  corps  of  " Queen's  Rangers"  (or  Colonel  Simcoe's  "Legion"). 
Its  proper  designation  was  "The  1st  American  Regiment  or  Queen's 
lt-i  Hirers." 

4  At  Maugerville,  near  Fredericton.     The  Rev.  John  Sayre  died  there 
in  the  same  year. 

"  A  View  of  the  Constitution  of  the  British  Colonies  in  North  America 
and  the  West  Indies,"  by  Anthony  Stokes,  p.  200.  London,  1783. 


i  FAMILY  AND  EARLY  LIFE  5 

After  describing  some  of  the  clergy,  whom  he  says  he 
had  heard  with  great  edification  in  America,  as  men  \\lio 
delivered  themselves  with  that  xeal  which  distinguishes  those 
who  i'eel  what  they  preach  to  others,  Mr.  Stokes  says : 
"Amongst  men  of  this  primitive  stamp  I  should  mention 
Mr.  Learning  and  the  two  Say  res  from  Connecticut,  were  it 
not  that  good  men  are  dead  to  the  applause  of  the  world,  and 
look  for  their  reward  in  another  Country,  where  merit  will  not 
he  mistaken  or  overlooked.11 

In  17cS8  Christopher  Robinson  (then  on  half-pay  of  the 
Queen's  Rangers)  removed  to  Lower  Canada,  and  in  179^ 
came  to  Upper  Canada  with  his  family,  and  lived  at  Kingston 
till  1798.  He  was  called  to  the  liar,  and  practised  there,  and 
held  also  the  situation  of  Deputy  Ranger  of  his  Majesty's 
Woods  and  Forests  in  Upper  Canada,  under  a  deputation  from 
Sir  John  Wentworth  of  Nova  Scotia — an  office  of  very  trifling 
emolument. 

In  October  1798  he  removed  to  York  (now  Toronto), 
which  had  not  long  before  been  made  the  seat  of  Government, 
and  died  there  three  weeks  after  his  arrival,  leaving  a  family 
of  young  children1  (for  he  lived  to  be  but  thirty-four  years 
of  age),  and  not  having  a  relation  of  any  degree  in  Canada. 

He  became  a  Bencher  of  the  Law  Society,  and  was,  at  the 
time  of  his  death,  a  Member  of  the  House  of  Assembly,  repre- 
sent ing  the  Counties  of  Lennox  and  Addington,  having  been 
elected  to  the  second  Parliament  that  sat  in  Upper  Canada. 

Three  years  ago  (in  1851),  when  I  went  to  Richmond,  I 
spent  ten  days  in  Virginia.  It  was  the  first  visit  that  any 
of  my  father's  family  had  made  there  in  the  seventy  years 
which  had  passed  since  he  forsook  his  home  to  join  the  British 
standard. 

When  my  father  died  at  York  in  1798,  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Stuart,  who  had  been  an  intimate  friend  of  his,  proposed  that 
I  should  go  with  him  to  Kingston,  and  attend  the  Grammar 
School  there  kept  by  Mr.  Strachan,  who  afterwards  moved  to 
Cornwall,  of  which  he  had  been  appointed  Rector. 

So    at    that    early    period    of    life,   I   had    two   excellent 

1  Sir  John  Beverley  Robinsoii  was  the  second  son. 


6     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

examples.  One,  Dr.  Stuart,  universally  esteemed  and  re- 
spected, in  whose  family  it  was  impossible  to  be— even  as  a 
child,  as  I  was— attending  constantly  to  his  remarks  as  to 
what  an  honest  man  could  do,  and  could  not  do,  without 
benefiting  by  it. 

The  other,  Mr.  Strachan— to  the  inestimable  advantage 
of  receiving  instruction  under  whom  I  feel  perfectly  certain 
I  owe  the  success  I  had  at  an  early  period  of  life. 

I  learnt  from  him  what  generosity  of  character  and  con- 
duct meant,  and  saw  in  him  constantly  exemplified  all  that 
it  was  most  important  a  young  man  should  see. 

I  was  fortunate  also  in  the  next  step  I  took.  If  I  have 
any  merit  in  getting  on  harmoniously  with  my  brethren  at  the 
Bar  and  on  the  Bench,  I  owe  it  in  a  certain  degree  to  having 
been  at  an  early  period  of  life,  when  I  commenced  my  legal 
studies,  under  the  care  of  the  late  Judge  Boulton,  who  was 
then  Solicitor-General  of  the  province. 

On  a  journey  to  England  he  was  taken  prisoner  by  the 
French,  and  it  became  necessary  for  me  to  complete  under  some 
one  else  the  period  for  which  I  was  articled  as  a  law  student. 

I  then  placed  myself  under  Colonel  Macdonell — Acting 
Attorney-General  and  Aide-de-Camp  to  General  Brock — who 
fell  at  Queenston,  a  most  honourable  and  high-minded  man. 

The  foregoing  sketch  passes  over  in  few  words 
the  circumstances  of  privation  and  difficulty  in  which 
the  United  Empire  Loyalists,  of  whom  Christopher 
Robinson  of  the  Queen's  Rangers  was  one,  were 
placed  at  the  conclusion  of  the  War  of  American 
Independence. 

In  Canada  the  history  of  these  pioneers  of  the 
Upper  Province  is  well  known,  but  for  others  than 
Canadians  it  may  be  necessary  to  say  that  the  United 
Empire  Loyalists  were  those  who  endeavoured  to 
preserve  the  unity  of  the  Empire  when  the  Ameri- 
can Colonies — now  the  United  States — rose  in  arms 
against  the  Crown. 


i  UNITED   EMPIRE   LOYALISTS          7 

From  conviction  they  adhered  to  the  royal 
cause,  and  fought  for  it.  When  it  was  lost  some 
returned  to  England,  and  many  settled  in  Nova 
Scotia,  New  Brunswick,  and  Upper  Canada. 

There  they  contributed  largely  to  build  up  again 
the  Empire  as  it  exists  to-day  in  the  Canadian 
Dominion. 

The  people  of  Canada — many  of  them  descend- 
ants of  these  men — have  now  lived  for  more  than 
a  century  along  an  extended  border-line  of  hundreds 
of  miles  side  by  side  with  those  of  the  very  pros- 
perous Republic  of  the  United  States;  and  some 
occasionally,  both  in  England  and  elsewhere,  have 
pointed  out  that  it  would  be  to  their  interest  to  join 
it.  But  the  people  generally  have  never  thought  so  ; 
their  attachment  to  British  institutions  is  deep-rooted, 
and  it  is  not  too  much  to  say  that  this  is  due,  next 
to  the  intrinsic  value  of  these  institutions  in  them- 
selves, to  the  principles  and  traditions  handed  down 
by  the  United  Empire  Loyalists. 

The  choice  which  the  Loyalists  had  made,  and 
never  regretted  having  made,  had  led  to  great 
hardships,  to  the  forfeiture  of  fortune,  the  loss 
of  home,  and,  in  many  cases,  to  the  complete 
rupture  of  close  family  ties.  To  be  compelled,  with 
slender  resources,  to  begin  life  anew  in  England 
or  the  British  provinces,  involving  in  many  cases 
building  their  log  houses  in  the  uncleared  forest 
in  the  depth  of  winter,  must  have  severely  tested 
that  fortitude  which  enabled  them  to  rise  superior 
to  their  trials. 

The  feeling  between  those  members  of  a  family 
who  had  taken  opposite  sides  in  the  American  War 
of  Independence  was  frequently  bitter  in  the  extreme. 


8      SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON      CH. 

Hundreds  of  miles  of  wilderness  then  intervened 
between  Canada  and  Virginia,  and  from  the  day  on 
which  Christopher  Robinson  joined  the  Queen's 
Rangers  no  communication  of  any  sort  seems  to 
have  been  kept  up  by  him  with  his  relations  in 
Virginia.  The  only  private  letters  of  his  which 
have  been  preserved  (as  far  as  I  have  been  able 
to  ascertain)  are  to  his  cousin,  Robert  Robin- 
son,1 who  had  settled  in  Nova  Scotia,  and  who, 
like  himself,  had  served  on  the  side  of  the  Crown, 
and  to  Colonel  Simcoe,  his  old  commanding  officer. 

When  he  first  went  to  Lower  Canada,  he  lived 
at  L'Assomption,  afterwards  moving  to  Berthier, 
where  my  father  was  born,  and  it  was  on  account 
of  Colonel  Simcoe  coming  out  as  Governor  to  Upper 
Canada  that  he  removed  to  Kingston  in  1792,  and 
afterwards  to  York  (Toronto),  where  he  had  previously 
arranged  for  a  log  house  to  be  built  for  him  a  little 
east  of  where  the  river  Don  enters  Lake  Ontario. 
He  died  November  2,  1798,  and  was  buried  in  the 
garrison  burial-ground. 

His  name  appears  in  records  as  mover  or  seconder 
of  several  public  measures  in  the  House  of  Assembly 
in  York,  such  as  for  the  establishment  of  a  market, 
for  laying  down  boundary  lines  between  townships, 
and  for  revising  the  Act  34  Geo.  III.,  regulating  the 
practice  of  the  Court  of  King's  Bench. 

His  early  death  (when  my  father  was  seven  years 
of  age)  was  caused  by  an  acute  attack  of  gout,  aggra- 
vated, I  have  heard,  by  cold  and  exposure  while 
travelling. 

My  father,  alluding  to  him  in  one  of  his  memo- 

1  A  son  of  John  Robinson  of  Hewick,  Middlesex  County,  Virginia,  a 
first  cousin  of  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson. 


i  CHRISTOPHER  ROBINSON  9 

randa,  says,  "I  can  just  recollect  that  lie  was  very 
tall,  and  had  fair  hair  and  a  light  complexion." 

I  have  heard  him  say  also  that  he  could  well 
recollect  walking  with  his  mother  to  the  funeral  along 
the  Indian  path,  and  through  the  forest,  which  then 
intervened  between  the  Don  and  the  cemetery,  and 
which  is  now  the  city  of  Toronto. 

Christopher  Robinson,  writing  to  Robert  Robin- 
son on  July  C,  1793,  tells  him  of  the  distress 
which  Colonel  Simcoe,  "the  first  and  best  friend 
I  ever  met  with  since  I  left  my  Virginia  con- 
nections," had  found  him  in,  when  he  came  out  as 
Governor;  and  how  comparatively  happy  he  was 
then  with  his  half-pay,  "  a  salary  of  7s.  Od.  a  day 
as  Deputy  Surveyor-General  of  \Voods  and  For* 
Is.  :3d.  for  a  ration,  and  2000  acres  of  wild  land." 

Later  on,  in  1795,  writing  to  Colonel  Simcoe, 
he  speaks  of  having  no  connections  or  relations  to 
apply  to  "were  I  so  disposed,  having  forfeited  their 
friendship  by  my  political  principles";  and  he  adds, 
••  I  was  bom  to  better  prospects." 

After    his    early — perhaps    imprudently    early- 
marriage   in   1784, 1  when   he   first   moved  with    his 
young  family   to   Lower   Canada,   he   was   entirely 
dependent  upon  his  half-pay  as  a  subaltern,  and  his 
own  exertions. 

It  is  interesting  for  any  descendant  of  the  LTnited 
Empire  Loyalists  to  read  the  official  reports  filed 
in  the  Record  Office,  Treasury,  &c.,  in  England, 
of  the  Commissioners  appointed  by  Parliament  to 
inquire  into  the  losses  and  services  of  the  American 

1  He  was  not  quite  twenty-one  years  of  age.  Colonel  Beverley 
Robinson,  writing  from  England  in  July  1784  to  his  daughter,  says  that 
he  has  "  heard  of  Kit  Robinson's  marriage,"  and  adds,  "  1  am  sorry  for 
and  vexed  with  him  for  being  so  imprudent." 


10     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

Loyalists.  The  delay  in  awarding  them  compensa- 
tion, pending  the  investigation  of  their  claims,  must 
have  caused,  in  some  cases,  much  distress  to  them ; 
and  their  services  and  sacrifices  were  in  many 
instances  no  doubt  inadequately  recognised,  and 
too  soon  forgotten. 

The  British  Government  was  not,  however,  as 
has  been  sometimes  asserted,  ungrateful,  and  did  not 
neglect  their  claims — which  amounted  to  millions 
sterling — but  it  did  not  do  more,  and  could  not 
reasonably,  perhaps,  have  been  expected  to  do  more, 
than  indemnify  them  partially  for  their  losses. 

Colonel  Beverley  Robinson  is  an  instance  of  the 
very  heavy  losses  sustained  by  some.  He,  his  wife, 
and  his  eldest  son  had  all  been  attainted  by  name 
of  treason,  and  banished  by  an  Act  of  the  Legislature 
of  New  York,  for  having  been  active  adherents  of 
the  King  of  Great  Britain,  and  their  whole  real  and 
personal  estate  confiscated.  Four  sons  fought  with 
him  on  the  side  of  the  Crown — three  in  his  own 
regiment. 

Sir  Henry  Clinton,  Commander-in-Chief  of  the 
British  forces  during  the  war,  bore  the  following  high 
testimony  before  the  Commissioners  to  his  services  : — 

Colonel  Beverley  Robinson  was  appointed  to  the  command 
of  a  regiment  composed  chiefly  of  his  own  tenants,  at  the  head 
of  which  he  distinguished  himself  upon  several  occasions,  and 
particularly  at  the  storming  of  Fort  Montgomery  on  October 
0,  1777,  the  command  of  that  attack  having  devolved  upon 
him  after  Lieutenant-Colonel  Campbell  was  killed. 

His  zealous  and  very  active  services  rendered  him  very 
obnoxious  to  the  enemy,  insomuch  that  of  all  other  men  he 
is  perhaps  the  least  likely  now  to  receive  any  favour  at 
their  hands. 

He  likewise  offered  himself  to   do  the  very  same  service 


i       COLONEL  BEYERLEY  ROBINSON      11 

that  Major  Andre  afterwards  did  with  respect  to  Mr.  Arnold; 
and  with  regard  to  Intelligence1  he  was  at  the  head  of  it. 

I  am  of  opinion  that  he  rendered  the  most  essential  services 
to  the  Government.  It  is  impossible  to  speak  too  highly 
of  him. 

The  "  service  with  respect  to  Mr.  Arnold,"  which 
Sir  Henry  Clinton  alludes  to,  was  the  conferring 
with  General  Benedict  Arnold,  who  was  ready  to 
betray  West  Point  to  the  British,  and  which  led 
subsequently  to  the  tragic  death  of  Major  Andre, 
Adjutant-General  of  the  army,  whom  (as  Sir  Henry 
Clinton  says  in  another  paper)  he  employed,  as  Colonel 
Bevcrley  Robinson  could  not  be  spared. 

One  of  the  officials  entrusted  by  the  Commis- 
sioners to  report  to  them  upon  Colonel  Beverley 
Robinson's  claims,  says  : — 

In  respect  to  this  case,  I  find  that  there  was  not  a  Loyalist 
more  respectable  as  a  private  gentleman,  or  more  the  object 
of  jealousy  as  a  British  adherent  in  the  eyes  of  the  Americans 
than  Colonel  IJeverlev  Robinson — a  man  of  candour  and  prin- 
ciple, and  universally  beloved.  Great  pains  were  taken  by  the 
fir.>t  and  most  leading  men  of  that  time  to  bring  him  over  to 
the  patriotic  faction. 

And  Sir  Guy  Carlcton,  afterwards  Lord  Dor- 
chester, who  succeeded  Sir  Henry  Clinton  as  Com- 
mander-in-Chief,  in  giving  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson 
a  letter  to  Sir  George  Yonge,  Secretary  of  State  in 
England,  says : — 

June  17,  17B.S. 

Colonel  Beverley  Robinson  of  the  Loyal  American  Regiment 
is  a  gentleman  of  distinguished  probity  and  worth,  and  whose 
possesMons  in  this  country  were  very  large. 

1  That  is,  the  Intelligence  Department  of  the  army.  He  was  at  one 
time  in  command  of  a  corps  of  "Guides  and  Pioneers,"  and  was  often 
attached  to  Sir  Henry  Clinton's  staff. 


12     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

The  violence  of  the  times  compels  him,  accompanied  by  the 
female  part  of  his  family,  to  seek  aid  and  protection  in  England 
at  a  period  of  life  very  ill  corresponding  with  such  a  change  of 
land,  but  his  unshaken  loyalty  and  fidelity  have  been  such  as 
to  leave  him  in  the  present  moment  of  violence  and  rage  no 
other  resort. 

I  beg  leave  to  recommend  him  to  your  favourable  notice 
and  protection.1 

In  his  own  statement  to  the  Commissioners 
Colonel  Beverley  Robinson  valued  his  confiscated 
estates  (about  60,000  acres  in  the  province  of  New 
York,  and  some  city  property,  which,  after  coming 
to  him  through  his  wife,  Susannah  Philipse,  had 
been  much  improved  by  his  own  exertions)  at  about 
£114,000  New  York  currency,  or  £64,000  sterling: 
an  exceptionally  large  fortune  at  that  period. 

That  this  estimate  was  not  excessive  is  to  be 
inferred  from  the  fact  that  it  was  concurred  in  by 
several  independent  witnesses,  examined  on  oath, 
and  that  some  valued  it  as  high  as  £140,000  cur- 
rency. There  was,  in  addition,  the  personal  estate 
of  about  £16,000. 

The  compensation  which  the  Commissioners  re- 
commended in  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson's  case  was 
about  £24,000  sterling,  but  it  appears  that  in  the  end 
he  received  about  £17,000. 

He  had  a  large  family,  and  for  years  after  the 
war  was  in  very  straitened  circumstances. 

It  may  be  mentioned  that  of  the  family  of  Philipse, 
descended  from  Adolph  Valipse — who  early  in  the 
seventeenth  century  had  acquired  immense  tracts 
of  land  near  or  on  the  site  of  New  York — Frederick 

1  From  Sir  Guy  Carleton's  manuscript  correspondence,  in  the  library 
of  the  Royal  Society  in  London. 


i  GENERAL  ISRAEL  PUTNAM          13 

(the  head  of  the  family),  Susannah  (Mrs.  Beverley 
Rohinson),  and  Mary  (Mrs.  Roger  Morris),  all  threw 
in  their  lot  with  the  Crown  in  the  war. 

Philip  Philipse,  another  member  of  the  family, 
had  died  before  the  wrar,  and  his  children  being  too 
young  to  take  part  in  it,  their  property  was  not  con- 
fiscated, and  their  descendants  were,  in  1847,  still 
living  on  it,  at  Philipsburgh,  on  the  Hudson  River. 

It  is  stated1  that  Frederick  Philipse  received 
from  the  British  Government  as  compensation  for 
his  losses  £62,075,  and  Colonel  Roger  Morris,  who 
had  married  Mary  Philipse,  £17,000.  Also  that 
Colonel  Morris,  before  the  Revolutionary  War,  had 
settled  his  property  upon  his  wife,  and  that  after  the 
peace  a  legal  question  was  raised  whether  his  children 
could  be  debarred  from  inheriting — they  (unlike 
Colonel  Beverley  Robinson's)  having  been  too  young 
to  take  any  part  in  the  war — and  it  being  provided 
in  the  Treaty  of  Peace  that  settlements  made  before 
the  war  should  hold  good. 

It  is  added  that  in  1809  the  then  representative  of 
the  Morris  family,  not  being  in  a  position  to  contest 
the  matter  legally,  assigned  the  reversionary  rights 
of  himself  and  his  sisters  to  John  Jacob  Astor  for 
£20,000,  who  eventually  received  the  property, 
which  soon  increased  to  many  times  that  amount 
in  value. 

I  give  below  a  remarkably  interesting  letter 
from  General  Israel  Putnam,  the  well-known  Revo- 
lutionary General,  to  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson, 
then  in  England,  and  the  original  of  which  is  in  the 
possession  of  the  latter 's  descendants  :— 

1  See  Burke's  "  Landed  Gentry,"  edition  of  1847,  under  "  Morris  of 
York." 


14     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

POMFRET,  May  14,  1783. 

SIR, — The  many  civilities  which  I  have  received  from 
Mrs.  Robinson  and  her  family  make  me  feel  extremely  in- 
terested in  whatever  concerns  them ;  and  I  must  say  that  my 
joy,  on  the  return  of  peace,  is  greatly  damped  by  the  unhappy 
situation  in  which  many  friends  of  the  Government  are  left. 

I  feel  most  sensibly  for  what  you  must  have  suffered  by 
the  war,  and  whenever  I  think  seriously  upon  the  situation  of 
this  country,  I  cannot  but  bewail  my  folly  in  the  part  which  I 
have  acted.  There  was  a  time  when  I  firmly  believed  that  a 
separation  from  the  mother  country  would  be  the  greatest 
blessing  to  this.  But,  alas  !  experience — too  late  experience — 
has  convinced  me,  as  well  as  thousands  of  others,  how  very 
erroneous  this  opinion  was. 

I  now  see  anarchy  and  confusion  'every  day  gaining  ground 
among  us.  I  see  the  encroachments  of  our  great  and  good  ally 
with  pain  and  regret. 

Whether  I  shall  ever  live  to  see  the  accomplishment  of 
my  wish,  or  not,  I  can't  tell,  but  it  certainly  is  the  greatest 
wish  of  my  heart  to  leave  my  posterity  in  the  enjoyment  of 
that  mild  government  which  this  unhappy  war  has  deprived 
them  of.  (Signed)  ISRAEL  PUTNAM. 

When   Christopher    Robinson,    of    the    Queen's 
Rangers,  died  in   1798,  his  widow  must  then  have 
been  left  at  York,  now  Toronto,  where  they  had 
but  recently  arrived,  with  but  very  little  means. 
She  had  six  children,1  viz. : — 
Peter ; 

Mary,  afterwards  Mrs.  Heward ; 
Sarah,  afterwards  Mrs.  d'Arcy  Boulton ; 
John  Beverley,  the  subject  of  this  memoir ; 
William  Benjamin ;  and 
Esther,  who  died  young. 
Colonel  Beverley  Robinson  was  dead,  and  Colonel 

1  See  Appendix  B.,  IV. 


i       SCOTCH  SYSTEM  OF  EDUCATION     1.5 

Simcoe  hud  left  Upper  Canada,  so  that  to  neither 
of  these  could  she  turn  for  aid  or  counsel.  Her  own 
father,  the  Rev.  John  Sayre,  was  also  dead. 

My  father  has  alluded  to  the  warm  and  staunch 
friend  he  found  in  the  Rev.  Dr.  Stuart,  the  father 
of  the  late  Archdeacon  of  Kingston.  He  was  the 
Bishop  of  London's  Commissary,  or  representative  in 
Upper  Canada,  and  may  be  regarded  as  the  father  of 
the  Episcopal  Church  in  that  province,  being  at  one 
time  the  only  Church  of  England  clergyman  in  it. 
A  United  Empire  Loyalist  himself,  born  in  Virginia, 
and  who  had  served  as  chaplain  to  the  troops  in  the 
Revolutionary  War,  he  had  probably  been  acquainted 
with  Christopher  Robinson,  or  his  family,  before 
coming  to  Canada. 

About  this  date  he  and  others  in  Kingston  were 
in  correspondence  with  acquaintances  in  Scotland 
with  a  view  to  obtaining  a  tutor  for  their  sons,  being 
able  to  hold  out,  as  an  inducement  to  come  to 
Canada,  the  prospect  of  future  educational  employ- 
ment in  connection  with  a  grammar-school  and  also 
a  university  which  it  was  proposed  to  establish. 

This  opening  was  accepted  by  Mr.  John  Strachan, 
then  master  of  the  parochial  school  of  Kettle,  in  Fife- 
shire,  who  arrived  in  Kingston,  December  31,  1709. 
•        To  quote  the  Rev.  Dr.  Scadding *  :— 
The  families  referred  to — Hamiltons,  Stuarts,  and   Cart- 
wrights — appeared    to   have    looked    towards   Scotland   rather 
than  England,  partly  perhaps  from  national  predilection  and 
partly  from  a  reasonable  impression  that  the  economic  and 
primitive  university  system  of  Scotland  was  better  adapted  to 
a  community  constituted  as  that  of  Upper  Canada  then  was. 

1  "The  First  Bishop  of  Toronto,  a  Review  and  a  Study,"  by  Henry 
Scadding,  D.D.,  1868. 


16     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

This  was  a  view  held  by  many  others,  and  which 
the  career  of  more  than  one  Scotchman  in  Canada 
would  seem  to  endorse. 

In  connection  with  this,  I  may  mention  that  the 
Rev.  Archibald  Alison,1  father  of  the  historian, 
though  educated  at  Balliol  College,  Oxford,  where 
he  spent  eleven  years  of  his  life,  and  though  admit- 
ting the  greater  nicety  of  critical  knowledge  and 
elegance  of  composition  in  the  dead  languages  there 
taught,  was  yet  so  impressed  by  the  superiority,  for 
general  students  and  practical  life,  of  the  Scotch 
system  of  education,  which  aimed  at  the  training  of 
youths  "  for  the  duties  they  would  have  to  discharge 
and  the  parts  they  would  have  to  play  in  the  living 
communities  in  which  they  were  to  pass  their  lives," 
that  though  Vicar  of  High  Ercal  and  Rector  of 
Rodington  in  England,  he  moved  in  1800,  at  some 
sacrifice  and  inconvenience,  to  Edinburgh,  for  the 
education  of  his  sons  for  professions. 

In  any  case,  these  Kingston  families  showed 
themselves  very  clear-sighted  in  considering  that  the 
training  and  character  of  Mr.  Strachan,  afterwards 
Bishop  of  Toronto,  specially  fitted  him  to  take  charge 
of  the  instruction  of  youth  in  a  new  country. 

When  Dr.  Stuart  offered  to  the  widow  of  his  old 
friend  Christopher  Robinson  to  take  her  son  John 
Beverley  with  him  to  Kingston,  and  place  him  at 
school  under  Mr.  Strachan,  who  was  also  tutor  to 
his  own  sons,  it  can  be  easily  understood  how 
valuable  to  her  was  the  helping  hand  he  then  ex- 
tended. 

No  words  can   adequately  express   the   debt   of 

"Autobiography  of  Sir  Archibald  Alison,"  by  Lady  Alison,  1883, 
vol.  i.  p.  21. 


i  DR.  STUART—  MR.   STRACHAN        17 

gratitude  which  the  descendants  of  Sir  John  Bever- 
ley  Robinson  owe  to  Dr.  Stuart, 

He  treated  my  father  in  all  respects  as  his  own 
child,  and  later  on,  in  1803,  Mrs.  Christopher  Robin- 
son having  in  the  meantime  (5th  September  1802) 
married  again,  he  joined  with  her  husband,  Mr. 
Human,  in  sending  him  to  Cornwall  to  continue  his 
education  under  Dr.  Strachan  there. 

The  latter  had  evidently  by  this  time  become 
himself  much  attached  to  his  pupil,  being  willing 
to  receive  him  "  without  reward,"  and  as  time  went 
on  he  became  almost  a  guardian  as  well  as  friend 
and  tutor  to  him,  ready  always  to  assist  him  by 
his  advice  and  example,  and  also  with  his  purse. 

Writing  to  him  on  25th  January  1809,  he 
says : — 

I  must  confess  that  I  shall  be  uncommonly  mortified  if  you 
do  not  shine  as  a  professional  and  moral  man  ;  and  that  you  will 
1  in  both  is  the  reward  I  promise  myself  from  our  connec- 
tion— and  a  disinterested  one  it  is,  though  to  me  it  will   be 

OUS. 

This  well  expresses  the  only  way  in  which  such 
kindness  and  friendship  as  that  shown  by  Dr.  Stuart 
and  Mr.  Strachan  can  be  repaid. 

It  may  be  said  that  in  this  sense  their  pupil  en- 
deavoured to  repay  them,  and  he  held  both  in  heart- 
felt affection  and  regard  throughout  his  life. 

Having  been  born  at  Berthier,  in  Lower  Canada, 
on  the  20th  July  1791,  my  father  was  a  little  over 
twelve  years  of  age  when  he  joined  the  Cornwall 
School  in  November  1803. 

The  following  is  one  of  the  earliest  letters  relating 
to  him,  and  was  evidently  delivered  at  Cornwall  by 
himself : — 

B 


18     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

Dr.  Stuart  to  Dr.  Strachan. 

KINGSTON,  November  25,  1803. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  immediate  occasion  of  this  letter  is  to 
acquaint  you  with  the  circumstances  which  have  furnished  you 
with  another  pupil — your  old  acquaintance,  John  Robinson. 

In  a  conversation  with  Justice  Powell,  1  happened  to  mention 
your  generous  intention  in  proposing  to  take  the  bearer  of  this 
even  without  reward.  However,  I  added  that  I  disapproved  of 
your  proposal,  as  a  thing  not  to  be  expected  from  a  stranger 
just  commencing  his  career  in  the  world,  unacquainted  with  the 
expense  and  troubles  of  housekeeping.  I  shall  consider  myself 
bound,  in  conjunction  with  Mr.  Beman,  to  indemnify  you  for 
the  time  he  is  with  you,  till  a  permanent  arrangement  can 
take  place. 

To  hear  of,  and  from  you,  will  always  give  us  pleasure. 

And  I  am,  Reverend  and  Dear  Sir,  your  sincere  friend  and 
brother,  JOHN  STUART. 

The  Reverend  JOHN  STRACHAN,  Cornwall. 
Mr.  J.  ROBINSON. 

For  four  years,  i.e.  until  August  1807,  he  con- 
tinued at  school  in  Cornwall. 

It  is  unnecessary  for  me  to  enlarge  upon  the  great 
benefit  derived  by  him  from  these  four  years.  The 
good  results  of  the  training  imparted  by  Mr.  Strachan 
to  his  pupils  are  well  known  throughout  Canada. 

Into  the  occupations  and  amusements  which  filled 
up  his  school  life  I  need  not  enter  either,  but  I  have 
heard  that  he  joined  very  keenly  in  all  games  and 
sports.  As  a  youth  he  was  a  fast  runner  and  active 
generally,  being  named  "  The  Young  Deer  "  by  the 
Indians,  who  then  frequented  Upper  Canada. 

He  was  fond  of  poetry,  and  occasionally  wrote 
verses.  From  his  boyish  productions  in  the  years 


i  MR.  STRACHAN'S  ADDRESS  19 

1806-7  I  select  the  following,  not,  of  course,  for 
its  intrinsic  merit,  but  as  being  among  his  earliest 
efforts : — 

To  Mr.  Strtichmi  on  his  Birthday. 

II  ll',  1807. 

I  low  shall  mv  muse  unskilled  to  please, 
Attempt  with  unaffected  ease 

Tn  eelebrale  the  day. 
Which  gave  a  father  and  a  friend, 
My  life  from  danger  to  defend, 
And  guide  my  youthful  way. 

May  each  revolvin.  uiml 

My  grateful  heart  IK>W  good,  how  kind, 

How  gracious  you  have  been. 

Oh  mav  your  goodness  leave  a  trace, 

\Vhieh  length  of  time  shall  ne'er  efface, 

But  whieh  shall  fix'd  remain. 

Although  they  have  more  than  once  appeared  in 
print  in  Canada,  I  make  no  apology  for  inserting  here 
some  extracts  from  Mr.  Strachan's  address  to  his 
pupils  on  the  Cth  August  1807,  when  several  of  them, 
including  my  father,  were  about  to  leave  the  school 
at  Cornwall,  for  better  advice  has  seldom  been  given 
to  youths  entering  upon  the  world,  and  the  school  life 
and  leaching  at  Cornwall  unquestionably  influenced 
my  father's  whole  career  : — 

I  begin  with  an  observation,  which  to  many  of  you  will 
appear  a  little  extraordinary.  It  is  this,  that  one  of  the 

greatest  advantages  von  have  derived  from  your  education 
here  ari->es  from  the  strictness  of  our  discipline.  Those  of  you 
who  have  not  already  perceived  how  much  your  tranquillity 
depends  upon  the  proper  regulation  of  the  temper,  will  soon 
be  made  sensible  of  it  as  you  advance  in  years.  .  .  . 

We-  should  not  forget  that  the  situation  of  human  affairs 


20     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

never  allows  any  one  to  be,  at  all  times,  his  own  master.  We 
are  restrained  on  every  side  by  limits  which  we  cannot,  or  ought 
not,  to  pass.  That  discipline,  therefore,  which  you  have  some- 
times thought  irksome,  will  henceforth  present  itself  in  a  very 
different  light.  .  .  . 

Next  to  the  due  regulation  of  the  passions  and  melioration 
of  the  temper,  we  place  those  habits  of  diligence  and  application 
to  which  you  have  been  accustomed  in  the  prosecution  of  your 
studies. 

If  they  are  not  acquired  in  youth,  they  are  very  seldom 
attained.  They  are  certainly  the  foundation  of  all  future 
excellence,  for  how  can  any  person  advance  in  his  professional 
studies  or  transact  his  business  with  correctness  and  prompti- 
tude, unless  he  be  accustomed  to  application  ? 

In  conducting  your  education,  one  of  my  principal  objects 
has  always  been  to  fit  you  for  discharging  with  credit  the 
duties  of  any  office  to  which  you  may  hereafter  be  called.  To 
accomplish  this,  it  was  necessary  for  you  to  be  accustomed 
frequently  to  depend  upon  and  think  for  yourselves.  I  have 
always  encouraged  this  disposition,  which,  when  preserved 
within  due  bounds,  is  one  of  the  greatest  benefits  that  can 
possibly  be  acquired. 

You  are  to  remember  that  we  have  laid  only  the  founda- 
tion, the  superstructure  must  be  raised  by  yourselves.  .  .  . 
It  is  not  by  flying  from  subject  to  subject  and  skimming  the 
surface  of  science  that  much  knowledge  is  gained,  but  by 
proceeding  slowly  and  correctly,  never  leaving  any  subject 
till  it  be  thoroughly  understood.  A  mass  of  information 
huddled  up  in  a  mind  not  accustomed  to  correctness  of  think- 
ing is  of  little  use.  Be  patient,  diligent,  and  methodical,  and 
you  will  make  rapid  progress. 

When  you  are  qualifying  yourselves  to  discharge  with 
dignity  the  duty  of  your  professions,  you  must  not  forget  that 
something  more  is  necessary  to  render  business  pleasant. 
You  must  behave  in  a  kind,  affectionate  manner  to  all  who 
have  intercourse  with  you.  We  may  be  correct  in  our  deal- 
ings, we  may  discharge  with  fidelity  the  duty  of  our  station, 
and  yet  become  disagreeable. 

We  may  treat  people  with  indifference,  superciliousness,  or 


i  DR.  STKACHANS   PUPILS  *J1 

neglect ;  we  mav  indulge  a  moroseness  of  disposition  which 
shall  disgust  where  we  meant  to  conciliate,  and  raise  up 
enemies  where  we  wished  friends.  The  civility  of  manners 
uhieh  I  would  recommend  flows  from  the  heart;  it  consists 
in  showing  a  proper  regard  for  the  feeling>  of  others. 

.  .  .  Having  exhorted  you  at  some  length,  in  another 
place,  always  to  cherish  our  Holy  Religion,  I  shall  not  say 
anything  further  at  present.  Sillier  me,  however,  to  remind 
you  that  he  who  wishes  to  be  a  good  man  and  ri>e  in  moral 
excellence,  must  begin  with  being  a  dutiful  child.  Obedience 
to  parents  is  the  forerunner  of  obedience  to  God. 

l>efore  I  conclude  allow  me  to  recommend  the  cultivation 
of  friendship.  The  connections  formed  at  school  frequently 
continue  through  life.  This  union,  if  founded  on  virtue,  and 
noiiri.>hed  bv  similarity  of  disposition  and  congenial  souls,  \\ill 
be  the  delight  of  your  future  lives. 

Twenty-six  years  after  the  above  address  had 
been  delivered,  the  old  Cornwall  pupils  of  Mr. 
St radian,  then  Archdeacon  of  York,  met  together 
(•2nd  July  18&3)  to  present  him  with  a  piece  of  plate1 
in  gratitude  to  him  as  their  tutor. 

On  that  occasion  the  address  was  read  by  my 
father,  and  forty-two  old  pupils  signed  it  and  joined 
in  the  presentation,  many  of  them  holding  respon- 
sible positions  in  Canada,  and  some  in  distant  parts 
the  world. 

Mr.  Strachan's  acknowledgment  of  the  address 
largely  explains  the  reason  why  the  system  he  had 
followed  had  so  reached  the  hearts  of  his  pupils. 

I  was  strongly  impressed  from  the  first  with  my  respon- 
sibility as  your  teacher,  and  I  felt  that  to  be  really  useful, 
I  must  become  your  friend.  It  has  ever  been  my  conviction, 

1  This  was  a  silver  epergne,  value  about  £230  sterling,  the  design  «>f 
which  was  supiM-inti-iidfd  in  London  by  Thomas  Campbell,  the  poet, 
author  of  "The  Pleasures  of  Hope/'  and  W.  Dacros  Adams. 


22     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

that  our  scholars  should  be  considered  for  the  time  our  children, 
and  that,  as  parents,  we  should  study  their  characters  and 
pay  respect  to  their  peculiar  dispositions,  if  we  really  wish  to 
improve  them,  for  if  we  feel  not  something  of  the  tender 
relation  of  parents  towards  them,  we  cannot  expect  to  be 
successful  in  their  education. 

It  is  evident  from  his  correspondence  with  his 
pupils  after  they  had  left  school  that  while  there 
he  had  identified  himself  with  all  their  interests  and 
amusements ;  and  no  one  who  recollects  him  person- 
ally (as  I  can  do,  though  only  at  a  later  period  of  his 
life)  can  fail  to  understand  the  influence  which  his 
manly  character  gave  him  over  boys. 

Uniting,  in  a  remarkable  degree,  as  has  been  well 
said,  "fascination  with  force,"  he  treated  his  pupils 
as  his  own  children,  while  he  maintained  a  very  strict 
discipline ;  noting  their  individual  tempers,  their  fail- 
ings, and  their  talents,  and  constantly  stimulating  or 
repressing  as  he  thought  wise. 

Such  a  system  naturally  left  its  mark  for  good 
upon  the  youth  of  my  father's  generation  brought 
under  Mr.  Strachan's  influence  in  Canada. 

Two  months  after  leaving  Cornwall,  i.e.  in  October 
1807,  my  father  entered  as  a  student  the  office  of  Mr. 
D'Arcy  Boulton,  then  Solicitor-General  of  Upper 
Canada,  and  remained  with  him  three  years. 

Mr.  Strachan  speaks  of  executing,  with  the  con- 
sent of  Mr.  Beman,  an  indenture  for  him  to  be  clerk. 

I  shall  take  the  necessary  steps  to  secure  you  for  five  years 
from  getting  clear  of  the  yoke.  I  hope,  however,  you  will  not 
find  it  burdensome. 

His  course  of  reading  during  this  period  seems 
from  his  note-books  to  have  been  comprehensive. 


i  COURSE  OF  READING  23 

In  addition  to  various  treatises  upon  law,  it 
included  a  careful  study  of  Virgil,  Horace,  Pliny, 
Plutarch,  Hume's  History  of  England,  Robertson's 
History  of  America,  Palcy,  the  Speeches  of  Pitt, 
Krskine,  Fox,  and  others,  Shakespeare,  Bolingbroke's 
Works,  Milton  and  various  poets.  Upon  the  Bible 
there  are  very  full  notes,  especially  on  Job,  the 
Psalms,  Proverbs,  Isaiah,  and  Ecck-siastrs,  and  among 
them  the  following  text  specially  scored  in  pencil  :— 

Till  I  die  I  will  not  remove  mine  integrity  from  me,  my 
righteousness  I  hold  fast,  and  will  not  let  it  go,  my  heart  shall 
not  reproach  me  so  long  as  I  live. — Jon,  xxvii.  6. 

He  also  took  a  leading  part  in  a  debating  society 
got  up  among  his  fellow-students. 

The  following  letters  show  the  continued  interest 
evinced  in  him  by  Dr.  Stuart  and  Mr.  Strachan 
throughout  the  time  he  was  studying  for  the  Bar : — 

Mr.  Strachan  to  John  B.  Robinson. 

CORNWALL,,  K-liruary  1808. 

.  .  .  You  must  learn  to  be  very  careful  of  your  matters — 
economy  is  the  root  of  true  independence — and  to  show  you 
that  your  allowance  is  not  so  small  as  you  niav  imagine,  my 
own  expenses  for  Cloaths  do  not  average  more  than  sixteen  or 

;  i  teen  pounds  per  annum.  It  is  true  many  people  spend 
six  times  as  much,  but  I  do  not  think  it  adds  anything  to 
their  respectability.  The  difficulties  you  have  at  present  to 
encounter  will  be  of  great  use  to  you  in  future.  No  man  can 
be  great,  or  perhaps  very  good,  who  has  not  received  lessons 
from  adversity.  .  .  . 

Dr.  Stuart  to  John  B.  Robinson. 

KINGSTON,  June  30,  1808. 

DEAR  JOHN, — Your  very  kind  affectionate  letter  was 
delivered  to  me  by  Mr.  Boulton,  and  though  you  have  greatly 


24     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

overrated  any  little  benefit  you  received  from  me  or  my 
family,  yet  as  it  evidences  the  goodness  of  your  heart,  I  con- 
sider the  whole  as  the  genuine  effusion  of  a  grateful  mind. 
I  have  been  long  in  the  habit  of  considering  you  as  a  child, 
and  consequently  am  deeply  interested  in  your  future  prospects 
and  success  in  the  world.  .  .  . 

There  is  no  medium  in  the  profession  you  have  chosen; 
you  must  either  rise  to  eminence  and  respectability  or  sink  to 
the  level  of  a  pettifogging  attorney  in  some  obscure  part  of  the 
country.  I  can  only  add  that  you  have  my  good  wishes  at  all 
times,  and  if  an  opportunity  offers  in  which  I  can  give  you 
some  more  substantial  proof  of  my  friendship,  you  will  be 
convinced  at  least  of  my  good  intentions.  Mrs.  Stuart  was 
particularly  pleased  with  the  part  of  your  letter  in  which  her 
name  was  mentioned.  I  need  only  say  she  is  as  much  your 
friend  as  ever. — I  am,  dear  John,  your  affectionate  and  sincere 
friend,  JOHN  STUART. 

Addressed  to 

Mr.  JOHN  B.  ROBINSON, 
Student  at  Law,  York. 

The  want  of  perseverance  and  inclination  to  satire, 
alluded  to  in  the  next  letters,  were  never  apparent, 
I  think,  in  my  father  in  later  life. 

Evidently  some  squib  he  had  written  was  the 
occasion  of  the  last,  and  perhaps  the  tendency  it 
showed  disappeared,  because  it  was  sharply  and  wisely 
disapproved  of  at  once. 

Mr.  Strachan  to  John  B.  Robinson. 

CORNWALL,  January  25,  1809. 

.  .  .  There  is  one  rock  from  which  you  are  in  danger,  that 

is  the  want  of  perseverance.     This  defect  I  endeavoured,  while 

you  were  here,  to  correct.     Endeavour  yourself  to  conquer  this 

Never  conceive  it  possible  for  another  to  do  anything 

in  the  way  of  your  profession  which  you  cannot  also  do.     If 


i  DR.  STUART'S  DEATH 

you  lose  in   the  race  after  every  effort  to  gain  the  victory,  you 
lose   with    honour;    but  to   be   distanced   is  always   disgr 
ful.   .  .   . 

The  Same  to  the  Same. 

CORNWALL,  >>/-//-mVr  HO,  1800. 

.  .  .  The  interest  I  naturally  take  in  your  welfare  forces 
me  to  take  up  the  subject  of  my  disapprobation  again.  I  find, 
as  I  had  anticipated,  that  the  lines  you  made  had  given  offence 
to  the  parties  concerned. 

I  am  willing  to  make  every  allowance  for  what  is  past,  but 
I  must  require  your  promise  never  to  write  satire  upon  any- 
body. The  empty  laugh  of  the  malignant  is  but  a  small 
remuneration  for  hurting  the  feelings  of  your  neighbour.  I 
do  not  speak  of  the  badness  of  the  verses  and  incasur--. 
it  was  obvious  to  yourself,  but  you  will  shut  every  door  against. 
you  by  indulging  a  satirical  propensity,  and  you  will  quickly 
find  yourself  surrounded  by  enemies. 

The  year  1811  was  to  be  a  sad  one.  In  it  my 
father  lost  his  tried  friend,  Dr.  Stuart,  and  his 
youngest  sister,  Esther.  His  legal  studies  in  Mr. 
Houlton's  ofHce  were  also  interrupted,  in  consequence 
of  the  latter  having  been  taken  prisoner  by  the  French 
privateer  Grand  Due  dc  Rcrg^  on  a  voyage  to 
England.  For  a  time  it  was  thought  that  he  had 
died  of  wounds  he  was  known  to  have  received  in 
the  capture  of  the  ship — The  Minerva — he  had 
sailed  in. 

The  following  is  Dr.  Stuart's  last  letter : — 

KINGSTON,  January  31,  1811. 

DEAR  JOHN, —  ...  I  shall  always  consider  you  as  my  sixth 
son,  and  if  I  live  long  enough  to  have  an  opportunity  of  aiding 
and  assisting  you  to  procure  a  desirable  establishment  in  life, 
I  shall  consider  it  a  fortunate  circumstance. 

Although  my  health  is  as  good  as  persons  at  my  time  of 


26     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

life  generally  experience,  yet  I  feel  the  love  of  ease  and  retire- 
ment daily  gain  ground,  and  what  I  ought  principally  to  keep 
in  view  is  how  to  make  my  exit  with  decency  and  comfort. 
My  grandchildren  begin  to  be  an  interesting  sight— eight  fine 
boys  and  two  girls. 

Mrs.  Stuart  and  Jane  join  in  love  to  you.  The  former 
wishes  to  see  you  in  your  old  position  at  her  elbow ;  indeed, 
you  have  not  by  long  absence  lost  any  ground  in  her  affectionate 
remembrance,  and, — I  am,  dear  John,  your  affectionate  friend, 

JOHN  STUART. 

JOHN  B.  ROBINSON, 

Student  at  Law,  York. 


My  father  writes  thus  to  Dr.  Strachan  on  Sep- 
tember 18,  1811  :— 

Dr.  Stuart's  death  affected  me  very  much.  The  unbounded 
kindness  with  which  he  has  always  treated  me  would  have  com- 
pelled me  to  love  him.  ...  I  can  hardly  reconcile  to  my  mind 
the  idea  of  never  seeing  him  again.  I  have  also,  it  grieves  me 
to  say,  a  nearer  affliction  to  mention,  the  death  of  a  good, 
affectionate,  young  sister.  She  died  on  the  first  of  this  month. 
Dear  Hetty  was  sixteen  years  old.  ...  Poor  little  soul;  she 
is  in  heaven,  if  a  spotless  conscience  and  a  heart  of  tender- 
ness and  goodness  can  claim  a  seat  there.  I  was  much  by 
her  bedside,  from  the  time  the  quinsy  broke. 

.  .  .  Mr.  Boulton,  I  fear,  will  never  greet  our  eyes  again. 
D'Arcy  has  had  a  letter  from  Mr.  Franklin,  saying  that  all  the 
intelligence  he  can  procure  of  Mr.  Boulton,  after  several  months'* 
diligent  inquiry,  is  from  two  sailors,  who,  being  taken  with 
him,  had  volunteered  into  a  French  privateer,  and  been  taken 
by  an  English  ship.  They  state  Mr.  Boulton  was  very  badly 
wounded,  that  when  the  rest  were  marched  into  the  interior 
he  was  left  in  the  hospital  at  Dieppe,  and  they  have  never 
heard  of  him  since.  I  hope  we  may  soon  be  relieved  from 
so  distressing  an  uncertainty.  Mrs.  Boulton  continues  pretty 
well. 


i          MACDONELLS  OF  GLENGARRY       -J7 

The  fears  which  were  entertained  as  to  Mr. 
Boulton's  safety  were  happily  unfounded.  He  re- 
covered from  his  wounds,  and  after  three  years' 
confinement  in  the  fortress  of  Verdun,  was  released, 
and  returned  to  Canada. 

My  father  has  alluded  to  his  having  completed 
his  legal  studies  (owing  to  Mr.  Boulton's  detention 
in  France)  in  the  office  of  Lieutenant -Colonel 
Macdonell,  M.P.  for  Glengarry,  "  a  most  honourahle 
and  high-minded  man  " ;  and  he  was  certainly  fortu- 
nate in  being  thus  thrown  into  intimate  contact 
with  one  of  so  high  a  professional  and  personal 
character. 

The  services  which  have  been  rendered  to  the 
Empire,  and  at  critical  junctures,  by  the  family  of 
Macdonell  of  Glengarry,  have  been  great,  and  the 
Glengarry  Highlanders,  well  known  in  Canada,  have 
distinguished  themselves  on  the  battlefields  both  of 
the  Old  and  the  New  World. 

Among  other  noted  members  of  this  family,  I 
may  mention  Colonel  (afterwards  General  Sir  James) 
Macdonell,  celebrated  for  his  determined  defence  of 
the  important  post  of  Hougoumont  at  Waterloo ; 
Colonel  George  Macdonell,  C.B.,  whose  name  is 
inseparably  connected  with  De  Salaberry's  brilliant 
success  at  Chateauguay,  and  who  commanded  at  the 
capture  of  Ogdensburgh  in  the  war  of  1812-15 ; 
Bishop  Alexander  Macdonell,  churchman  and  man 
of  affairs,  active  in  the  war  of  1812-15,  and  chaplain 
during  it  to  the  Glengarry  Light  Infantry  ;  and  lastly 
Colonel  John  Macdonell,1  in  whose  office  my  father 
was  now  enrolled,  and  who  fell  in  the  forefront  of 

1  Great-uncle  of  the  present  John  A.  Macdonell,  K.C.,  of  Greenfield. 
Alexandria,  Glengarry,  Canada. 


28     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

the  battle  at  Queenston  Heights,  when  serving  as 
A.D.C.1  to  General  Brock. 

While  in  Colonel  Macdonell's  office,  my  father 
took  some  duty  in  connection  with  the  House  of 
Assembly  in  addition  to  his  legal  work,  of  which 
he  thus  speaks : — 

My  first  public  service  was  rendered  while  I  was  still  a 
boy,  under  an  appointment  from  Major-General  Sir  Isaac 
Brock,  then  President  of  the  province,  to  supply  temporarily 
the  place  of  the  Clerk-Assistant  to  the  House  of  Assembly, 
Mr.  Donald  Maclean,  who  afterwards  (in  April  1813)  gallantly 
joined  the  Grenadier  Company  of  the  8th  Regiment  with  his 
musket,  and  was  killed  in  endeavouring  to  repel  the  attack  of 
the  enemy  upon  Toronto.  .  .  .  He  being  ill,  I  performed  his 
duty  for  him. 

It  was  in  one  respect  a  gratifying  commencement,  for  at  the 
conclusion  of  the  session  the  House  passed  unanimously  a  very 
flattering  resolution,  commending  my  services,  and  adding  a 
substantial  mark  of  their  approbation,2  which  I  had  not  at 
all  looked  for. 

Though  not  called  to  the  Bar  until  a  few  months 
later,  his  student  days  were  now  practically  over- 
Inter  arma  silent  leges 

—and  a  time  of  trial  for  Canada  was  approaching, 
which  was  to  interrupt  all  the  avocations  of  civil  life. 

1  Being  an  officer  of  rank  he  combined  the  duties  of  Military  Secretary 
and  Aide-de-C'amp. 

2  The  Assembly  voted  £50  as  a  mark  of  their  approbation  of  his 
"  extraordinary  attention  to  the  duties  of  the  office." 


CHAPTER    II 

THE  AMERICAN  WAR— CAMPAIGN  OF  1812 

Outbreak  of  war — Volunteers  for  service — Capture  of  Fort  Detroit— Meets 
Bnu-k  and  Tenmi-r  -   (Jem-nil    Hull  anil  other  prisoners  to 

Chippewa — Ordered  to  Niairara  frontier   -Battle  of  Queenston  Heights 

—  Death  of  Brock  and  Macdonell,  and  advance  under  ( Jeneral  Shea  Ho 

.  orts  Colonel  Scott  and  other  prixmers  to  Kingston-  -Interment 
of  Brock  and  Macdonell      Remarks  on  advance  from  York  to  Detroit 

—  Mentioned  in  despatches  for  conduct  at  Cjueen-ton —  Colours  taken 
at    Detroit  and    Queen-ton,  ami    their  sul>>e<|uent    history — Articles 
of  capitulation  of  Fort  Detroit— Letters  of  Dr.   Strachan     Military 
services  of   the   Bench  and    Bar    of    I'pper    Canada  --Remarks   with 
re-peet    to    (ieneral    Brock's  operations;  prudence  of  his  ad\  a 
Detroit 

My  Father's  Account,  taken  from  his  Memoranda,  <§*c. 

IN  1811,  the  late  Honourable  William  Allan1  was  captain 
of  a  company  of  Militia  in  the  town  of  York,  which  he  took 
pains  to  make  efficient. 

Under  the  new  Militia  Act  of  1812,  flank  companies  were 
formed  in  each  battalion  of  men  who  volunteered  for  active 
service  in  case  of  war;  and  Mr.  Allan  became  captain  of  one 
of  these  companies,  in  which  I  and  most  of  the  young  gentle- 
men of  the  town  were  enrolled  as  privates. 

The    Attorney-General,    Macdonell,    with   whom    I   v 
student,  went  upon  General  Brock's  staff  as  Provincial  A.D.C. 

As  the  prospects  of  invasion  came  nearer  we  were  taken 
into  garrison,  and  became  soldiers  for  the  time. 

In  June  1812  the  American  Government  declared  war, 
having  been  engaged  for  some  time  before  in  collecting  and 
forming  a  force  for  the  invasion  of  Canada,  which,  about  3000 
strong,  had  been  making  its  way  through  the  Western  States 


1  Father  of  the  late  Honourable  G.  W.  Allau  of  Moss  Park,  Toronto. 

29 


30    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

to  Detroit,  under  the  command  of  General  Hull,  who  was  then 
Governor  of  the  Michigan  territory. 

As  soon  as  the  intelligence  of  the  war  and  of  this  move- 
ment reached  Toronto,  General  Brock  with  a  party  of  soldiers 
rowed  across  the  lake  to  Niagara  to  make  such  arrangements 
as  he  could  for  the  defence  of  the  frontier  there,  and  immedi- 
ately returned  to  York  in  the  same  boat,  called  out  the 
Militia,  and  addressed  them  on  the  Garrison  Common.  He 
had  then  received  information  that  General  Hull  with  his 
force  had  crossed  the  Detroit  River  to  Sandwich,  which  they 
plundered,  and  had  marched  down  to  Amherstburg,  where 
a  small  detachment  of  the  41st  Regiment  under  Colonel 
Proctor  held  out  against  him ;  also,  that  a  troop  of  American 
Dragoons  had  made  their  way  through  the  Western  District 
to  Delaware,  receiving  the  submission  of  some  of  the  inhabi- 
tants, and  being  willingly  joined  by  others,  who  had  recently 
emigrated  to  Canada  from  the  United  States. 

General  Brock  told  us  that  his  intention  was  to  go  up  at 
once  to  the  Western  District  along  the  shore  of  Lake  Erie, 
in  boats,  with  such  force  as  he  could  collect,  and  to  embark 
at  what  is  now  Port  Dover ;  that  his  means  of  transportation 
were  so  limited  that  he  could  take  but  100  volunteers  from 
York,  the  same  number  from  the  head  of  the  lake  (Hamilton), 
and  an  equal  number  from  Port  Dover.  .  .  . 

I  had  by  that  time  received  a  commission  as  lieutenant.1 
Many  more  men  volunteered  than  could  be  taken,  and  I  believe 
all  the  officers — General  Brock  had  to  select  the  few2  that  were 
required,  and  I  had  the  luck  to  be  one.  My  brother-in-law, 
Captain  Heward,  was  appointed  to  command  the  100  men,  and 
my  brother,3  who  had  raised  a  rifle  company,  was  allowed  to 
find  his  way  by  land,  to  join  us  in  the  Western  District. 

We  marched  from  Burlington  Bay  to  Long  Point  on 
Lake  Erie,  and  went  from  thence,  in  boats,  up  the  lake  to 
Amherstburg. 

1  My  father's  commission  to  be  "  Lieutenant  in  the  3rd  Regiment  of 
York  jVlilitia  of  which  William  Chewett  is  Lieutenant-Colonel,"  is  dated 
the  17th  April  1812.     He  was  posted  to  Captain  Reward's  company. 
It  is  mentioned  elsewhere  that  four  were  selected. 

3  Peter  Robinson. 


ii          CAPTURE  OF  FORT  DETROIT         J31 

General  Hull  crossed l  the  Detroit  River  on  hearing 
of  the  approach  of  General  Brock's  very  inferior  four, 
and  shut  himself  up  with  about  2500  men  in  the  fort  (of 
Detroit). 

On  the  15th  August  General  Brock  arrived  at  Sandwich, 
and  on  the  morning  of  Sunday  the  16th  he  crossed  the  river 
with  his  small  force  of  700  men,  besides  the  Indians,  who  we  re- 
sent into  the  woods,  and  was  advancing  to  the  assault,  when 
General  Hull  sent  out  a  flag  of  truce,  and  surrendered  the 
fort  with  his  army  and  the  whole  Michigan  territory.  All 
but  the  regular  troops  were  allowed  to  depart  on  their 
parole. 

I  was  sent  with  a  party  of  the  York  volunteers,  and  an 
officer  of  the  41st  Regiment  with  a  party  of  his  men,  to  take 
possession  of  the  fort,  and  substitute  the  British  flag  for  the 
American. 

On  being  relieved  from  duty  the  next  morning,  I  had 
the  pleasure  of  breakfasting  with  Sir  Isaac  Brock  and  with 
Tecumseh  at  an  inn  at  Detroit.  My  short  experience  of 
soldiering  was  uncommonly  lucky,  for  the  fort  being  full  of 
stores  of  all  kinds,  my  share  of  prize-money  as  a  lieutenant, 
which  I  received  in  due  time,  came  to  £90  and  upwards, 
and  the  captors  of  Detroit  being  honoured  by  her  Majesty 
with  a  medal,2  I  have  this  unusual  appendage  to  a  judge's 
equipment. 

A  few  days  after  the  surrender  I  came  down  with  Cap- 
tain Heward  and  a  part  of  his  company  on  board  the 
Queen  Charlotte,  armed  brig,  as  a  guard  with  General 
Hull  and  part  of  the  regular  force3  that  surrendered  at 
Detroit.  General  Brock  returned  to  Fort  Erie  in  a  small 


1  i.e.  retired  over  it  again  to  the  American  side. 

2  The  war  medal  (granted  in  1847  for  Peninsular  and  other  campaigns 
between  17(J3  and  1814)  was  issued,  with  clasp  for  "  Fort  Detroit/'  to  all 
those  who  had  been  present  at  the  capture  of  that  fortress.     My  father 
only  received  this  medal,  therefore,  about  1848. 

8  There  were  on  board  Brigadier-General  William  Hull,  Captain 
Abraham  Hull,  his  A.D.C. ;  Lieutenant-Colonel  J.  Miller,  commanding 
4th  Regiment  U.S.  Infantry;  Joseph  Watson,  A.D.C.  to  Governor  of 
Michigan;  and  others — in  all,  12  officers,  134  privates,  8  women,  and  4 
children.  The  men  chiefly  belonged  to  the  4th  Regiment  U.S.  Infantry. 
The  prisoners  were  being  conveyed  to  Fort  Erie,  and  thence  to  Halifax. 


32     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

sloop,  having  as  a  guard  the  Militia  rifle  company,  com- 
manded by  my  elder  brother  (Peter),  which  had  gone  up 
by  land  to  Sandwich  and  joined  us  there.  We  left  the 
prisoners,  whom  we  had  brought  down,  at  Chippewa,  where 
there  was  a  company  of  the  41st  Regiment,  and  I  returned 
with  our  100  volunteers  to  Toronto. 

After  a  few  days,  the  strength  of  our  detachment  being 
much  augmented,  both  in  men  and  officers,  we  were  sent  to 
the  Niagara  frontier  under  Captain  Duncan  Cameron,  as 
senior  captain ;  Captain  Heward  and  Captain  Selby  from 
East  Gwillimbury  were  with  us,  and  among  the  subalterns 
were  M'Lean,  G.  Ridout,  S.  P.  Jarvis,  Stanton,  and  myself.1 
We  were  stationed  at  Brown's  Point,  between  Niagara  and 
Queenston,  and  had  two  batteries  in  charge,  the  men  being 
drilled  in  the  use  of  the  guns  by  a  bombardier  of  the  Royal 
Artillery.  The  Americans  were  concentrating  their  forces  at 
Fort  Niagara  and  Lewiston,  and  evidently  intended  to  invade 
the  province  somewhere  on  that  line. 

On  the  night  of  the  12th  October  1812,  they  began  crossing 
at  Queenston,  and  were  met  by  the  small  force  that  could  be 
hastily  collected,  our  main  regular  force  being  quartered  in 
Fort  George.2  The  York  volunteers,  being  near  the  point 
of  attack,  were  early  engaged. 

What  follows  now  is  from  a  letter  written  by  my 
father  the  day  after  the  battle. 

The  rough  of  this  letter,  with  alterations  and 
erasures,  as  he  had  first  written  it,  was  found  among 
his  papers,  endorsed  "  Account  of  the  Battle  of 
Queenston,  written  at  the  time,"  and  although  the 
rough  does  not  show  to  whom  it  was  addressed,  it 
was  most  probably  written  to  Dr.  Strachan.3 

1  Most  of  the  above  officers  had  been  my  father's  schoolfellows  at 
Cornwall. 

2  Fort  George,  Niagara,  was  about  seven  miles  from  Queenston. 

3  A  fair  copy  of  this  rough,  with  some  slight  alterations  and  additions, 
was  found  among  the  papers  of  Mr.  Thomas  Ridout,  but  without  any  clue 
to  the  writer  or  to  whom  it  was  written,  and  was  published  by  Lady 
Ivlgar  in  "Ten  Years  of  Upper  Canada  in  Peace  and  War,  1805-15." 


ii  BATTLE   OF   QUEENSTOX  83 

The  letter  has  the  interest  of  being  the  story  of  a 
young  officer  engaged  in  the  fight — his  first  serious 
battle — and  of  having  been  penned  when  every  event 
was  fresh  in  his  memory,  and  the  emotions  aroused 
were  still  keenly  felt ;  so,  with  the  exception  of  a  few 
lines  of  no  importance,  I  have  given  it,  though  long, 
///  c.vtciiso. 

BROWN'S   POINT,  Ortnln-r  14,  1812. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — The  affair  of  yesterday  terminated  so 
gloriously  for  this  province,  and  does  so  much  honour  to  its 
spirited  defenders,  that  I  hasten  to  give  an  account  to  you, 
whom  I  know  to  be  most  warmly  interested  in  the  present 
cause  of  our  countrv. 

I  am  anxious  to  detail  to  you  the  particulars,  because  I 
know  your  heart  will  glow  with  fervour  at  our  success,  while 
it  feelingly  and  sincerely  laments  the  price  at  which  it  was 
purchased. 

Few  things  occurred  which  I  had  not  an  opportunity  of 
observing,  and  what  I  did  see,  from  its  novelty,  its  horror, 
and  its  anxiety,  made  so  awful  an  impression  on  my  mind, 
that  I  have  the  picture  of  it  all  fresh  and  perfect  in  my 
Imagination. 

About  half-an-hour  before  daylight  yesterday  morning  (the 
13th  of  October,  Tuesday),  being  stationed  at  one  of  the 
batteries  between  Fort  George  and  Queenston,  I  heard  a  heavy 
cannonade  from  Fort  Grey  on  the  American  side,  situate  on 
the  height  of  the  mountain,  and  commanding  the  town  of 
yueenston.  The  motions  of  the  enemy  had,  for  a  few  days 
previously,  indicated  an  intention  to  attack.  The  lines  had 
been  watched  with  all  the  vigilance  that  our  force  rendered 
possible,  and  so  great  was  the  fatigue  which  our  men  underwent 
from  want  of  rest  and  exposure  to  the  inclement  weather  which 
had  just  preceded,  that  they  welcomed  with  joy  the  prospect 
of  a  field  which  would  be  decisive,  and  set  them  more  at  ease 
for  the  future.  Their  spirits  were  high,  and  their  confidence 
in  the  General  unbounded. 

Our  "party,  which  was  merely  an  extra  guard  during  the 

C 


34    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

night,  returned  to  Brown's  Point,  our  main  station,  which  is 
about  two  miles  in  a  direct  line  from  Queenston. 

From  our  battery  there  we  had  the  whole  scene  most  dis- 
tinctly in  our  view.  Day  was  just  glimmering.  The  cannon 
from  both  sides  roared  incessantly,  shells  were  bursting  in  the 
air,  and  the  side  of  the  mountain  above  Queenston  was  illumined 
by  the  continual  discharge  of  small  arms.  The  last  circum- 
stance convinced  us  that  some  part  of  the  enemy  had  landed ; 
and  in  a  few  moments,  as  day  advanced,  objects  became  visible, 
and  we  saw  numbers  of  Americans  in  boats  attempting  to  land 
upon  our  shore,  amidst  a  shower  of  shot  of  all  descriptions, 
which  was  skilfully  and  incessantly  levelled  at  them. 

No  orders  had  been  given  to  Captain  Cameron,  who 
commanded  our  detachment  of  York  Militia,  what  conduct 
to  pursue  in  case  of  an  attack  at  Queenston ;  and  as  it  had 
been  suggested  to  him  that,  in  the  event  of  a  landing  being 
attempted  there,  the  enemy  would  probably,  by  various  attacks, 
endeavour  to  distract  our  force,  he  hesitated  at  first  whether  it 
would  be  proper  to  withdraw  his  men  from  the  station  assigned 
them  to  defend.  He  soon  saw,  however,  that  every  exertion 
was  required  in  aid  of  the  troops  engaged  above  us,  and  resolved 
to  march  us  immediately  to  the  scene  of  action. 

On  our  road,  General  Brock  passed  us.  He  had  galloped 
from  Niagara  in  great  haste,1  unaccompanied  by  his  aide-de- 
camp or  a  single  attendant.  He  waved  his  hand  to  us,  and 
desired  us  to  follow  with  expedition,  and  galloped  on  with  full 
speed  to  the  mountain.  Lieutenant-Colonel  Macdonell  and 
Captain  Glegg  passed  immediately  after. 

At  the  time  the  enemy  began  to  cross  there  were  two  com- 
panies of  the  49th  Regiment  (the  Grenadier  and  Light  Company) 
and,  I  believe,  three  small  companies  of  Militia  to  oppose  them. 

Their  reception  was  such  as  did  honour  to  the  courage 
and  management  of  our  troops.  The  grape  and  musket  balls, 
poured  upon  them  at  close  quarters  as  they  approached  the 
shore,  made  incredible  havoc.  A  single  discharge  from  a  field- 
piece  directed  by  Captain  Dennis  himself  (the  captain  of  the 
49th  Grenadiers)  killed  fifteen  in  one  boat. 

1  About  seven  miles. 


IT  BATTLE   OF  QUEENSTON  s:> 

Three  of  their  batteaux  landed  at  the  hollow  below  Mr. 
Hamilton's  garden  in  (^iieenston,  and  were  met  by  a  party  of 
Militia,  who  slaughtered  almost  the  whole  of  those  in  them, 
taking  the  rest  prisoners.  Several  other  boats  were  so  shattered 
and  raked  that  the  men  in  them  threw  down  their  arms,  and 
came  on  shore  merely  to  deliver  themselves  up  prisoners  of 

war. 

Thus  far,  things  had  proceeded  successfully;  and  the 
General,  on  his  approach  to  the  spot,  was  greeted  with  the 
happv  intelligence  that  all  our  aggressors  were  destroyed  or 
taken.  As  we  advanced  with  our  company  we  met  troops  of 
Americans  on  their  way  to  Fort  George  under  guard,  and  the 
road  was  lined  with  miserable  wretches,  suffering  under  wounds 
of  all  descriptions,  and  crawling  to  our  houses  for  protection 
and  comfort. 

The  spectacle  struck  us,  who  were  unused  to  such  heart- 
rending scenes,  with  horror;  but  we  hurried  to  the  place,  im- 
pressed with  the  idea  that  we  had  conquered,  and  that  the 
business  of  the  day  was  done. 

Afresh  brigade  of  four  boats  had  just  then  crossed,  and  our 
troops,  who  had  been  stationed  on  the  mountain,  were  ordered 
down  to  dispute  their  landing.  No  sooner  had  they  descended 
than  the  enemy  appeared  in  force  above  them.  They  had 
probably  landed  before  the  rest,  while  it  was  yet  dark,  and 
h  id  remained  concealed  by  the  rough  crags  of  the  mountain. 
They  possessed  themselves  instantly  of  our  battery  on  the 
height. 

General  Brock  rushed  up  the  mountain  on  foot  with  some 
troops  to  dislodge  them ;  but  they  were  so  advantageously 
posted,  and  kept  up  so  tremendous  a  fire,  that  the  small 
number  ascending  were  driven  back. 

The  General  then  rallied  the  men,  and  was  proceeding  up 
the  right  of  the  mountain  to  attack  them  in  Hank,  when  he 
received  a  ball  in  his  breast.  Several  of  the  49th  assembled 
round  him.  One  poor  fellow  was  severed  in  the  middle  by  a 
ball,  and  fell  across  the  General.  They  succeeded,  however, 
in  conveying  the  General's  body  to  Queenston. 

Just   at   this   instant   we   reached    Queenston.      We    were 


36     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

halted  a  few  moments  in  Mr.  Hamilton's  garden,  where  we 
were  exposed  to  the  shot  from  the  American  battery  at  Fort 
Grey  and  two  field-pieces  directly  opposite  us,  and  also  to  an 
incessant  fire  of  musketry  from  the  side  of  the  mountain. 
One  of  our  poor  fellows  had  his  leg  shot  off  in  the  ranks 
by  a  ball  which  carried  away  the  whole  calf  of  another 
lad's  leg. 

In  a  few  minutes  we  were  ordered  to  advance  to  the 
mountain.  The  nature  of  the  ground  and  the  galling  fire 
prevented  any  kind  of  order  in  ascending.  We  soon  scrambled 
to  the  top,  at  the  right  of  the  battery  which  the  Americans 
had  gained,  and  were  in  some  measure  covered  by  the  woods. 
There  we  stood,  and  gathering  the  men  as  they  advanced, 
formed  them  into  line ;  the  fire  was  too  hot  to  admit  of  delay. 
Scarcely  more  than  fifty  were  collected,  of  whom  about  thirty 
were  of  our  company,  headed  by  Captain  Cameron  and  three 
of  our  subalterns.  The  remainder  were  the  49th,  commanded 
by  Captain  Williams. 

Lieutenant- Colonel  Macdonell  was  there,  mounted,  and 
animating  the  men  to  charge,  seconded  with  great  spirit  and 
valour  by  Captain  Williams.  But  the  attempt  was  unsuccess- 
ful, and  must  have  been  dictated  rather  by  a  fond  hope  of 
regaining  what  had  been  lost  by  a  desperate  effort  than  by 
any  conviction  of  its  practicability.  The  enemy  were  just  in 
front,  covered  by  bushes  and  logs,  and  were  three  or  four 
hundred  in  number.  They  perceived  us  forming,  and  at  about 
thirty  yards1  distance  fired. 

Colonel  Macdonell,  who  was  on  the  left  of  our  party,  most 
heroically  calling  upon  us  to  advance,  received  a  shot  in  his 
side,  and  fell.  His  horse  was  the  same  instant  killed.  .  .  . 
Captain  Williams,  who  was  at  the  other  extremity  of  our 
small  band,  fell  the  next  instant,  apparently  dead.  The  re- 
mainder of  our  men  discharged  their  pieces,  and  retired  down 
the  mountain.  Lieutenant  M'Lean1  was  wounded  in  the  thigh, 
and  Captain  Cameron,  in  his  attempt  to  save  Colonel  Mac- 
donell, exposed  himself  to  a  shower  of  musketry,  which  he 
most  miraculously  escaped.  He  succeeded  in  bearing  off  his 

1  Afterwards  Chief- Justice  M'Lean. 


VB 

OC 

as 

wl 

"I 
qu 

i 


ii  BATTLE   OF   QUEENSTON  87 

friend ;   and   Captain  Williams  recovered   from   the  wound    in 
his   head  iii  time  to  make  his  escape  down  the  mountain. 

This  happened  about  ten  oYlock.  Our  forces  rallied  about 
a  mile  below.  .  .  .  General  Shealle,  with  the  41st  from  I'ort 
about  300  in  number,  came  up  soon  after  with  the 
field-pieces  and  Car  Brigade.1  All  the  force  that  could  be 
mustered  was  collected,  and  we  marched  through  the  fields 
back  of  Queeiiston,  ascended  the  mountain  on  the  right,  and 
remained  in  the  woods  in  rear  of  the  enemy  till  intelli.L 
was  gained  of  their  position.  During  this  time,  the  Americans 
were  constantly  landing  fresh  troops  unmolested,  and  carrying 
back  their  dead  and  wounded  in  their  return  boats. 

About  three  o'clock,  (Jeneral  Shealle  advanced  through  the 
woods  towards  the  battery  on  the  mountain,  with  the  main 
body  and  the  field  guns  on  the  right  :  the  Mohawk  Indians, 
under  Captain  Norton,  and  a  Niagara  Company  of  Blacks, 
proceeded  along  the  brow  of  the  mountain  on  the  left;  and 
our  company  of  Militia,  with  the  Light  Company  of  the  49th, 
broke  through  in  the  centre. 

In  this  manner  we  rushed  through  the  woods  to  our  en- 
camping ground  on  the  mountain,  which  the  enemy  had 
occupied.  The  Indians  were  the  first  in  advance.  A>  soon 

they  perceived  the  enemy  they  uttered  their  terrific  war- 
whoop,  anil  commenced  a  most  destructive  fire,  rushing  rapidly 
upon  them.  Our  troops  instantly  sprang  forward  from  all 
quarters,  joining  in  the  shout. 

The  Americans  stood  a  few  moments,  gave  two  or  three 
neral  volleys,  ami  then  fled  by  hundreds  down  the  mountain. 
At  that  moment,  Captain  Bullock,  with  1~;0  of  the  41st  and 
two  Militia  Hank  companies,  appeared  advancing  on  the  road 
from  Chippewa.  The  consternation  of  the  enemy  was  com- 
plete. .  .  . 

They  had  no  place  to  retreat  to,  and  were  driven  1  y  a 
furious  and  avenging  foe,  from  whom  they  had  little  mercy  to 
expect,  to  the  brink  of  the  mountain  which  overhangs  the 
river.  They  fell  in  numbers.  .  .  .  Many  leaped  down  the 


1  The  "  Car  Brigade "  of  Artillery  was  largely  ooin;><.-e<l  of  farmers' 
sons  who  had  voluuteered  to  horse  the  guns  with  their  draught  horses. 


38     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

side  of  the  mountain  to  avoid  the  horrors  which  pressed  upon 
them,  and  were  dashed  to  pieces  by  the  fall. 

A  white  flag  was  observed,  and  with  the  utmost  difficulty 
the  slaughter  was  suspended.  Two  officers  who  brought  it 
were  conducted  up  the  mountain  to  General  Sheaffe.  A  ces- 
sation of  hostilities  for  three  days  was  agreed  upon. 

Thus  ended  the  business  of  this  day,  so  important  and  so 
interesting  in  its  occurrences  to  the  inhabitants  of  this  pro- 
vince. The  invasion  of  our  peaceful  shores  has  terminated  in 
the  entire  destruction  of  their  army  and  the  total  loss  of  every- 
thing brought  over. 

The  number  of  Americans  landed  is  unknown,  and  cannot 
be  easily  ascertained  by  us,  but  we  know  that  we  have  taken 
nearly,  or  perhaps  quite,  1000  prisoners,  with  more  than  fifty 
officers,  undoubtedly  their  bravest  and  best.  Still  we  have 
much  to  sorrow  for.  Our  country  has  a  loss  to  deplore  which 
the  most  brilliant  success  cannot  fully  atone  for.  That  General 
who  had  led  our  little  army  to  victory,  whose  soul  was  wrapped 
up  in  our  prosperity,  and  whose  every  energy  was  directed  to 
the  defence  of  our  country,  is  now  shrouded  in  death. 

Who  will  not  sympathise  in  another  misfortune  nearly 
related  to  this.  .  .  .  That  heroic  young  man,1  the  constant  atten- 
dant of  the  General,  strove  to  support  to  the  last  a  cause  which 
should  never  be  despaired  of,  but  he  was  not  destined  to  witness 
its  triumph.  I  have  mentioned  the  manner  of  his  death.  His 
career  was  short,  but  honourable ;  his  end  was  premature  and 
full  of  glory.  He  will  be  buried  at  the  same  time  with  the 
General.  .  .  . 

Our  company  of  volunteers  suffered  considerably.  One 
man  was  killed,  and  eleven  wounded,  most  of  them  badly.  But 
all  these,  though  melancholy  circumstances,  are  the  inevitable 
consequences  of  war;  and  grateful  should  the  inhabitants  of 
this  province  be  to  Heaven  if,  by  a  sacrifice  of  some  of  its 
gallant  defenders,  it  can  save  itself  from  unjust  aggression,  and 

1  Refers  to  Lieutenant-Colonel  Macdonell,  A.D.C.  to  General  Brock, 
who  survived  the  mortal  wound  he  had  received  for  about  twenty-four 
hours  only,  and  in  this  interval  a  mail  arrived  from  England  which 
brought  out  the  King's  confirmation  of  his  appointment  to  be  Attorney- 
General. 


ii        ACTING   ATTORNEY-GENERAL         39 

preserve  to  our  Mother  Country  a  possession  which  has  ever 
heen  the  object  of  its  affection. 

Our  troops  will  have  received  fresh  courage  from  their 
victory,  and  the  cool  though  determined  and  vigorous  conduct 
of  General  Sheaffe,1  and  the  gallant  behaviour  and  spirited 
exertions  of  every  officer  tinder  his  command  on  that  occasion, 
claim  from  us  every  confidence  in  the  anticipation  of  the  future. 

The  above  concludes  the  account  of  the  Battle  of 
"  Queenston,"  or  "  Queenston  Heights,"  as  it  is  often 
called.2  I  continue  now  from  my  father's  memo- 
randa, &c. : — 

Two  davs  afterwards  I  was  sent  with  a  guard  of  the  York 
Militia,  commanded  by  Major  Allan,  on  board  one  of  our 
armed  vessels,  with  a  number  of  prisoners,  to  Toronto  and 
Kingston  on  their  way  to  Quebec. 

Colonel,  now  Lieutenant-General,  Scott — the  present  Com- 
mander-in-Chief  '  of  the  United  States  Army — was  among  them, 
and  Captain  Wool,  now  General  Wool  ;  and,  as  crossing  Lake 
Ontario  was  not  then  the  business  of  a  few  hours,  but  generally 
took  an  indefinite  time,  from  two  days  to  ten,  we  became  very 
well  acquainted. 

We  had  a  tedious  passage,  being  several  times  driven  back 
by  westerly  winds.  When  we  came  to  the  wharf  at  Niagara 
many  of  my  friends  were  there  to  meet  us,  and  I  was  warmly 
congratulated  upon  M  my  appointment."  I  could  not  imagine 
what  my  good  fortune  was,  but  thought  I  might  possibly  have 
been  made  a  captain,  which  would  have  astonished  me  not  a 
little.  They  soon  astonished  me  much  more  by  informing  me 
that  in  my  absence  I  had  been  made  Acting  Attorney-General 
in  the  place  of  my  late  master,  Colonel  Macdonell,  whom  I  had 


1  Whatever  may  have  been  the  mistakes  or  shortcomings  <>f 

on  other  orca-ions  in   this   war,  ho  showed  vigour  and  determina- 
tion at  this  ori>is.  ;ind  for  his  ^rrviees  wa>  rivaled  a  baronet. 

2  In  the   official   Army  List,  and    on  the  colours  of  regiments,  the 
spelling:  is  "  (^uoenstown." 

:;  (uMicral  Scott  was  Commander-iii-Chief  of  the  United  States  Army 
from  1841  to  1861,  and  died  in  1866. 


40     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

seen  fall  at  the  head  of  our  Militia  after  General  Brock  had 
been  killed. 

I  was  then  but  a  few  weeks  over  twenty-one  years  of  age, 
and  was  only  a  law  student,  though  entitled  to  be  called  to  the 
Bar,  my  five  years  being  just  completed. 

I  may  add  to  my  father's  account,  given  in  the 
preceding  pages,  of  the  campaign  of  1812,  that  at  the 
interment  of  General  Brock  and  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Macdonell  at  Fort  George  on  the  16th  October,  he 
was  one  of  the  pall-bearers  of  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Macdonell. 

Afterwards,  on  13th  October  1824,  he  was  pre- 
sent at  the  removal  of  their  remains  to  the  monu- 
ment erected  upon  Queenston  Heights,  and  on  30th 
July  1840  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  meeting  held 
for  the  purpose  of  rebuilding  that  monument,  which 
had  been  partially  destroyed  by  some  criminal  hand. 

It  may  be  mentioned  here,  too,  that  nearly  half  a 
century  after  the  events  of  1812,  he  was  (on  7th  July 
1860)  deputed  by  the  survivors  of  the  war  to  present 
their  address  of  welcome  to  the  Prince  of  Wales  on 
his  arrival  in  Canada. 

In  the  advance  from  York  to  Detroit  some  very 
hard  work  was  entailed  upon  the  small  body  of 
regulars  and  Militia,  of  which  my  father  formed  one. 

In  the  journey  by  water  from  Long  Point  to 
Amherstburg,  it  was  only  after  five  days  of  excessive 
exertion,  in  open  boats,  in  hot,  windy,  and  rainy 
weather,  and  proceeding  constantly  by  night,  that 
they  reached  the  latter  place. 

Referring  to  the  volunteer  company  he  was  with, 
my  father  says  : — 

This  body  of  men  consisted  of  farmers,  mechanics,  and 
gentlemen,  who,  before  that  time,  had  not  been  accustomed 


ii  THE   MARCH   TO   DETROIT          41 

to  any  exposure  unusual  \\  ith  persons  of  the  same  description 
in  other  countries.  They  marched  on  foot,  and  travelled  in 
boats  and  vessels,  nearly  ()()0  miles,  in  going  ami  returning, 
in  the  hottest  p:irt  of  the  year,  sleeping  occasionally  on  the 
ground,  and  frequently  drenched  with  rain;  but  not  a  man 
wa>  left  behind  in  consequence  of  illn 

And  writing  in  his  Diary  many  years  afterwards 
(7th  April  1851)  on  a  journey  from  Simcoe  to  Port 
Dover,  he  says  : — 

I  noticed  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  before  we  reached 
Dover  an  old  painted  farmhouse  in  which  we  spent  two  or 
three  days  in  1812  (waiting  for  General  Brock's  arrival),  OUT 

men  being  quartered  in  the  barn  of  old  \Vinant  Williams,  the 
fanner  who  owned  the  house. 

How  few  are  alive  now — General  Brock,  Colonel  Nichol, 
Colonel  Maedonell,  Major  Salmond,  mv  poor  brother,  Captain 
Ileward,  Richardson,  Jarvie — all  gone;  but  there  is  the  old 
farmhouse  with  its  comfortless-looking  porch  and  dilapidated 
tes  looking  not  very  different  from  what  it  did  then. 


wu 

. 

nes: 


General  Brock  thus  testifies  to  the  spirit  with 
which  these  troops  met  the  call  made  upon  them  :— 

In  no  instance  have  I  seen  troops  who  would  have  endured 
fatigues  of  a  long  journey  in  boats  with  greater  cheerfui- 
ss  and  constancy,  and  it  is  but  justice  to  the  little  band  to 
add  that  their  conduct  throughout  excited  my  admiration. 

In  General  Brock's  orders  of  16th  August  1812, 
after  the  surrender  of  Fort  Detroit,  Captain  Ileward, 
in  whose  company  my  father  was  serving,  and  Captain 
Peter  Robinson  were  both  desired  to  assure  the  officers 
and  men  under  their  command  that  their  exertions 
*•  had  been  duly  appreciated,  and  would  never  be  for- 
gotten " ;  and  in  General  Sheaffe's  despatch  of  13th 
October  1812  my  father  was  mentioned  by  name  as 

1  From  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Hill "  (1840). 


42     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

having  at  the  battle  of  Queenston  Heights  "led  his 
men  into  action  with  great  spirit." 

Major  Richardson,  in  his  History  of  the  War, 
describing  the  entry  into  Fort  Detroit,  after  the  ar- 
rangements for  its  surrender  had  been  made,  says  :— 

A  guard  of  honour  consisting  of  an  officer  and  forty  men 
were  immediately  formed  to  take  possession  of  the  fort.  The 
command  of  this  devolved  upon  the  officer  who  had  led  the 
advanced  guard,  Lieutenant  Bullock,  and  among  those  of  the 
Militia  who  were  attached  to  his  party,  and  had  first  the 
honour  of  entering  the  fortress,  were  the  present  Chief-Justice 
Robinson,  Samuel  Jarvis,  Esquire,  Superintendent  of  Indian 
affairs,  and  Colonel  William  Chisholm  of  Oakvilb.  .  .  . 

The  American  flag  was  lowered,  and  a  Union  Jack,  which 
a  blue-jacket  had  brought  with  him,  hoisted  ir  its  place. 

In  his  account  of  the  Battle  of  Queenston 
Heights  he  thus  mentions  my  father  :— 

Again,  on  this  occasion  was  the  present  Chief-Justice 
Robinson  conspicuous  for  his  zeal  and  gallantry. 

In  the  absence  of  his  captain  (Reward)  who  was  upon 
leave,  he  commanded  the  Second  Flank  Company  during  the 
whole  of  the  day.  He  consequently  bore  a  prominent  part  in 
the  engagement,  from  the  moment  when  he  arrived  at  early 
dawn  from  Brown's  Point,  where  he  was  stationed  with  No.  1 — 
or  Captain  Cameron's — Company,  to  the  late  hour  in  the  after- 
noon, when  victory  finally  perched  on  the  British  standard. 

Colonel  W.  F.  Coffin  also,  in  his  "  Chronicle  of 
the  War  of  1812  "  thus  alludes  to  him  :— 

The  British  had  been  exasperated  by  the  fatal  event  of  the 
morning  (the  death  of  Brock).  The  men  of  Lincoln  and  the 
"brave  York  volunteers,"  with  Brock  on  their  lips  and  reven/ 
in  their  hearts,  had  joined  in  the  last  desperate  charge,  an< 
among  the  foremost — foremost  ever  found! — was  John  Beverlej 
Robinson.  His  light,  compact,  agile  figure,  handsome  fa( 
and  eager  eye,  were  long  proudly  remembered  by  those  wh( 
had  witnessed  his  conduct  on  the  field. 


ii  COLOURS   TAKEN  43 

The  Colours  of  the  4th  Regiment  United  States 
Infantry,  which  were  in  a  room  in  Fort  Detroit  in 
which  four  American  officers  had  been  killed  by  the 
fire  of  the  batteries  from  the  Canadian  hank  of  the 
river,  were  formally  handed  over  by  the  officer  com- 
manding that  regiment  to  Lieutenant  Bullock. 

At  Queenston  Heights  one  Colour  was  captured. 

The  subsequent  history  of  these  Colours  will  be 
of  interest  to  Canadian  readers. 

(icncral  Brock,  writing  to  Sir  George  Provost, 
says  that  he  sends  to  him,  by  Captain  Glegg  his 
A.D.C.,  "the  Colours  taken  at  Detroit,  and  those 
of  the  4th  Regiment  United  States  Infantry," l  and 
by  Sir  George  they  were  sent  to  England  by  his 
A.D.C.  Captain  Coore. 

They  were  first  deposited  in  the  Chapel  Royal, 
Whitehall,  whence,  in  1835,  they  were  transferred, 
with  the  Eagles  and  other  trophies  in  that  chapel, 
to  the  Royal  Hospital  at  Chelsea. 

The  Colour  taken  at  Queenston  Heights,  which 
belonged  to  a  regiment  of  New  York  Militia,  was 
sent  to  England  by  Sir  George  Prevost,  in  charge 
of  his  A.D.C.,  Captain  Fulton,  and  is  thus  described 

the  Quebec  Mercury  of  November  1812  : — 


It  is  made  of  blue,  or  purple-coloured  changeable  silk, 
about  a  yard  and  a  half  square,  with  the  arms  of  the  United 
Slates  on  one  side,  and  those  of  New  York  2  on  the  other — 
both  surrounded  by  a,  circle  of  stars. 

This  Colour  also  was  first  deposited  in  the  Chapel 

1  (Jem-nil   Brock's  despatch   to  Sir  George  Provost,  August  17,1812. 
Probably  there  was  a   Fort   Standard  as  well  as  the  Colours  of  the   4th 
i  nited  State-  Infantry,      ^ee  footnote,  page  -\-\. 

2  The  American  Kagle  perched  upon  the  globe,  above  a  shield  showing 
the  sun  rising  over  water.     Supporters  at  each  side  of  the  shield,  one  with 
a  cap  of  liberty.     Motto,  "  Excelsior." 


44     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Royal  in  Whitehall,  and  thence  transferred  to 
Chelsea. 

The  above  Colours  are  still  in  the  Royal  Hospi- 
tal, Chelsea,  having  been  recently  restored  as  far  as 
possible.  During  the  three  years  (1895-98)  that  I 
was  Lieutenant-Governor  and  Secretary  of  the  Hos- 
pital I  saw  them  constantly,  one  of  them  in  good 
preservation  hanging  close  to  my  pew. 

That  taken  at  Queenston,  and  one  Colour  (the 
National)  of  the  4th  United  States  Infantry  form  the 
subject  of  a  plate  in  "  Naval  and  Military  Trophies  " 
by  William  Gibb  and  Richard  Holmes.  Much  of 
the  silk  of  the  former  has  disappeared,  but  the  Arms 
on  each  side  are  in  good  preservation. 

When  in  England  in  1815  my  father  saw  them, 
with  others,  in  the  Chapel  Royal,  Whitehall,  and 
thus  alludes  to  them  in  his  Journal  (24th  November 
1815)  :— 

Here  (i.e.  in  the  Chapel  Royal),  on  the  west  side,  is  the 
Colour  taken  from  the  Americans  at  Queenston,  placed  by 
them  on  our  battery  when  they  gained  possession  of  it  just 
before  Brock  fell. 

It  was  taken  by  a  private  militiaman  of  one  of  the  Chippewa 
companies  in  our  advance  under  Sir  Roger  SheafFe  in  the  after- 
noon, and  presented  to  him  on  the  field.  I  saw  him  with  it 
round  him  on  the  field.  I  have  heard  that  the  gallant  fellow 
who  seized  it  on  the  battery  while  the  enemy  were  yet  there 
\\iis  suffered  to  remain  unrewarded. 

Next  this  Standard  are  three  Ensigns  of  Fort  Detroit,  and 
on  the  opposite  side  is  the  small  Ensign  of  Fort  Niagara.1 

1  Evidently  from  this,  and  the  wording  of  General  Brock's  despatch 
to  Sir  G.  Prevost  of  August  17,  1812,  the  two  Colours  of  the  4th 
Regiment  United  States  Infantry  were  not  the  only  ones  sent  to  England 
fr«.in  Detroit.  The  Ensign  of  Fort  Niagara  was  forwarded  to  England  hy 
Colonel  Murray,  in  charge  of  Mr.  Bramptori,  his  staff  officer.  It  cannot 
now  be  identified  with  certainty  among  the  flags  which  hang  in  the  Royal 
Hospital,  Chelsea. 


ii        CLOSE   OF   MILITARY  CAREER      4.5 

It  may  easily  be  imagined  that  my  feelings  were  quite  alive 
to  the  most  pleasing  reflect  ions  on  viewing  four  Standards,  out 
of  five  which  I  had  seen  taken  from  the  enemy,  depo>itcd 
among  the  trophies  of  the  most  splendid  victories  of  modern 
limes,  ranged  with  the  Eagles  and  tri-colonred  Hags  of  France. 
.  .  .  Alas!  poor  Brock,  how  much  thy  country  owes  thee. 

The  "  Articles  of  Capitulation  "  of  Fort  Detroit, 
signed  by  Brock  and  Hull,  and  which  had  been 
•rved  among  General  Brock's  papers,  were,  many 
years  after  these  events,  presented  to  my  father 
by  Mr.  Ferdinand  Brock  Tapper,  author  of  "The 
Life  of  Brock,"  and  are  now  in  the  possession  of  my 
brother  Christopher. 

The  following  extract  is  from  a  letter  from  Dr. 
Strachan  to  my  father,  then  on  the  Niagara  frontier, 
shortly  before  the  battle  of  Queenston  Heights  : — 

YORK,  S.ptnnl,,',-    \\\,    IJJlL'. 

DKAR  JOHX, — I  have  been  much  gratified  with  the  «;• 
reputation  which  you  have  obtained  as  an  excellent  officer.  It 
is  an  earnest  to  me  that  you  will  be  first  in  your  profession, 
>on  as  you  are  admitted  to  the  Bar.  At  present  you  do 
well  to  turn  all  your  attention  to  excelling  in  your  duty  as  an 
officer,  and  you  will  find  vour  reward.  .  .  . 

Yours  affectionately,          Jonx  STKACHAN. 

My  father  closed  what  may  be  termed  his  military 
career  after  the  battle  of  Queenston  Heights. 

Many  varied  incidents  of  war  had  been  seen  by 
him  by  the  time  he  was  but  little  over  twenty-one 
years  of  age. 

He  had  taken  an  active  part  in  the  defeat  of 
two  invasions  of  Upper  Canada,  been  present  at 
the  capture  of  a  fortress  with  £40,000  worth  of 
prize,  and  been  escort  on  two  occasions  to  sur- 
rendered officers  of  rank  and  prisoners  of  war. 


46     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

The  chances  of  war  had  led,  through  the  taking 
in  a  sea  fight  of  one  civil  chief,  and  the  lamented 
death  in  battle  of  another,  to  his  appointment  to  the 
vacant  post  of  Attorney- General  of  Upper  Canada. 

It  was  a  very  exceptional  experience ;  and  it  must 
be  also  exceptional  that  in  Canada,  within  thirteen 
years,  viz.,  between  1828  and  1841,  seven  judges l  were 
sitting  on  the  Bench,  all  of  whom  had  seen  fighting 
in  the  Revolutionary  War,  or  in  that  of  1812-1815, 
and  two  of  them  had  been  severely  wounded. 

These  were  Sir  William  Campbell,  Judge  Boulton, 
Sir  J.  B.  Robinson,  Sir  J.  B.  Macaulay,  Chief-Justice 
M'Lean,  Judge  Jones,  and  Judge  Hagerman. 

In  fact,  almost  the  whole  Bench  in  Upper  Canada 
at  that  time,  and  many  members  of  the  Bar,  may  be 
said  to  have  received  a  training  in  war. 

It  has  been  considered  by  some  that  the  capture 
of  Fort  Detroit  was,  at  best,  an  instance  of  extra- 
ordinary good  fortune,  crowning  a  desperate  venture. 

In  short,  that  the  advance  against  the  fort  was 
an  act  of  such  audacity  and  rashness,  when  the 
position  and  strength  of  the  opposing  forces  are 
compared,  that  it  hardly  deserved  the  success  which 
attended  it,  and  was  a  risk  scarcely  justified. 

Fort  Detroit  was  a  regular  work,  of  solid  con- 
struction, covering  about  an  acre  of  ground.  It 
had  four  bastions,  the  whole  being  surrounded  by 
palisades  and  a  deep  ditch.  The  parapets  were 
some  twenty  feet  high. 

It  was  armed  with  thirty-three  pieces  of  brass 
and  iron  ordnance  of  various  calibres,  including 
several  24-pounders,  and  garrisoned — in  the  work, 

1  Four  of  these  became  Chief-  J  us  tices. 


ii  CROCK'S   OPERATIONS  47 

town,  and  camp  around  it — by  a  force  of  some  2500 
men,  which  consisted  partly  of  regulars,  and  was 
commanded  by  a  general  officer  of  experience  in 
the  field. 

To  advance,  in  broad  daylight,  against  a  for 
so  garrisoned,  and   unhreached    by  artillery,  witli   a 
mixed   force   of  700   regulars  and   Militia  and   (KM) 
undisciplined    Indians    may    appear,    at    first    sight, 
almost  Quixotic. 

Nevertheless,  to  view  it  in  this  light  is  unjust 
to  the  reputation  of  Brock. 

His  resolution  to  advance  and  demand  the  sur- 
render of  Fort  Detroit  is  a  proof  not  alone  of  his 
courage,  but  also  of  his  penetration  and  correct  grasp 
of  the  situation  in  which  he  was  placed.  He  showed, 
in  fact,  those  qualities  which  combine  to  make  a  great 
leader  as  well  as  a  determined  soldier. 

My  father  says  l  as  to  this  : — 

...  It  has,  I  know,  Sir,  in  the  many  years  that  have 
elapsed,  been  sometimes  ohjerted  that  General  Crock's  cor 

.•venter  than  his  prudence — that  his  attack  on  Fort  Detroit, 
though  it  succeeded,  was  most  likely  to  have  failed,  and  was 
therefore  injudicious. 

Those  who  lived  in  Upper  Canada  while  these  events  were 
passing  can  form  a  truer  judgment.  They  know  that  what  to 
some  may  seem  rashne.vs  was,  in  fact,  prudence :  unless,  indeed, 
the  defence  of  Canada  was  to  be  abandoned. 

And  at  the  moment  when  the  noble  soldier  fell  (alluding  to 
Queenston),  it  is  true  that  he  fell  in  discharging  a  duty  which 
might  have  been  committed  to  a  subordinate  hand  .  .  .  but 
he  felt  that  hesitation  might  be  ruin :  that  all  depended  upon 
his  example  of  dauntless  courage,  of  fearless  self-devotion. 

It  is  true  his  gallant  course  was  arrested  by  a  fatal  wound — 
such  is  the  fortune  of  war ;  but  the  people  of  Canada  did  not 

1  Speech  at  Queenston  Heights  on  30th  July  1840. 


48     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

feel  that  his  precious  life  was  thrown  away,  deeply  as  they 
deplored  his  fall. 

In  later  periods  of  the  contest  it  sometimes  happened  that 
the  example  of  Brock  was  not  very  closely  followed.  It  was 
that  cautious  calculation,  which  some  suppose  he  wanted, 
which  decided  the  day  against  us  at  Sacketfs  Harbour;  it 
was  the  same  cautious  calculation  which  decided  the  day  at 
Plattsburg;  but  no  monuments  have  been  erected  to  record 
the  triumphs  of  those  fields.  It  is  not  thus  that  trophies 
are  won. 

General  Brock's  published  letters l  show  that,  for 
many  months  before  the  outbreak  of  the  war,  he  had 
been  urging  the  importance  of  retaining  possession  of 
the  Detroit  district. 

On  February  12,  1812,  he  writes  to  Sir  George 
Prevost : — 

I  set  out  with  declaring  my  full  conviction  that  unless 
Detroit  and  Michilimackinac  be  both  in  our  possession  im- 
mediately at  the  commencement  of  hostilities,  not  only  the 
district  of  Amherstburg,  but  most  probably  the  whole  country 
as  far  as  Kingston,  must  be  abandoned.  .  .  . 

When,  therefore,  in  consequence  of  Hull's  in- 
vasion, he  hurried  to  Detroit,  it  can  be  seen  that 
he  looked  upon  the  expulsion  of  the  enemy  as  a 
vital  matter. 

The  situation  was  critical.  Delay  almost  certainly 
meant  failure,  for  while  he  himself  could  look  for  no 
immediate  addition  to  his  strength,  large  American 
reinforcements  were  but  a  few  marches  off. 

A  success,  on  the  other  hand,  would  rouse  the 
spirit  and  confidence  of  the  country,  decide  the  al- 
legiance of  the  Indians,  confirm  the  wavering,  and 
overawe  the  disloyal.  Everything  depended  upon 

"Life  of  Sir  Isaac  Brock/'  by  F.  B.  Tapper,  1847. 


ii  BROCK'S   OPERATIONS  49 

prompt  action.  It  must  be  remembered  that  Brock 
had  much  to  fear  from  disaffection,  especially  in  the 
western  district.  On  3rd  February  1812,  he  writes  : 
"  The  great  influence  which  the  settlers  from  the 
I  Hited  States  possess  over  the  decisions  of  the  Lower 
House  is  truly  alarming."  Some  measures  also,  in- 
troduced by  Brock  himself  and  urged  on  that  House 
for  the  safety  of  the  province,  had  been  thrown  out. 
Colonel  George  Deuison,  in  an  address  delivered  at 
Toronto  on  17th  April  1891,  has  well  emphasised  this 
point. 

At  this  juncture,  lie  became  aware,  from  inter- 
cepted letters  and  despatches,  that  General  Hull  was 
disappointed  at  not  having-  been  received  with  open 
arms  by  the  inhabitants  generally,  and  nervous  as  to 
the  safety  of  his  communications  ;  that  he  had  be- 
come dispirited  to  the  extent  of  fear,  and  had  lost 
the  confidence  of  both  officers  and  men. 

Under  such  circumstances  it  was  certainly  not 
rashness,  but  genuine  prudence,  which  determined 
Brock  to  first  demand  the  surrender  of  the  fort, 
and  then  move  boldly  towards  it. 
.  Many  leaders  would  have  shrunk  from  this  re- 
sponsibility. There  can  be  no  question  that,  had  he 
failed,  the  movement  would  then  have  been  con- 
demned as  rash  to  culpability ;  and,  so  far  as  his 
personal  reputation  was  concerned,  it  is  not  too 
much  to  say  that  he  was  less  likely  to  suffer  in  the 
opinion  of  his  superiors  by  avoiding  than  by  accept- 
ing such  a  risk. 

But   no   such    considerations   swayed    him,    and 
from  his  own  letters  given  below,  we  learn  why  he 
crossed  the  Detroit  River,  and  that  it  was  with  no 
intention  of  running  his   head   blindly  against  the 

D 


50     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

ramparts  of  Fort  Detroit,  though  circumstances,  after 
he  had  crossed,  determined  him  to  assault  the  fort 
itself,  combining  with  this  an  attack  by  the  Indians 
upon  the  camp  adjoining  it. 

As  he  had  anticipated,  Hull  surrendered  before 
the  assault  was  delivered,  and  it  is  more  than  pro- 
bable that  had  that  General  awaited  the  assault,  the 
same  despondency  which  this  pusillanimous  surrender 
shows  to  have  existed,  would  have  made  his  resist- 
ance a  feeble  and  a  vain  one. 


Major-General  Brock  to  Sir  George  Prevost.1 

HEADQUARTERS,  DETROIT, 
August  17,  1812. 

...  I  crossed  the  river  with  the  intention  of  awaiting  in  a 
strong  position  the  effect  of  our  force  upon  the  enemies'  camp, 
and  in  the  hope  of  compelling  him  to  meet  us  in  the 
field ; 2  but  receiving  information  upon  landing  that  Colonel 
M'Arthur,3  an  officer  of  high  reputation,  had  left  the  garrison 
three  days  before  with  a  detachment  of  500  men,  and  hear- 
ing soon  afterwards  that  his  cavalry  had  been  seen  that 
morning  three  miles  in  our  rear,  I  decided  on  an  immediate 
attack. 

Accordingly  the  troops  advanced  to  within  one  mile  of  the 
fort,  and  having  ascertained  that  the  enemy  had  talten  little  or 
no  precaution  towards  the  land  side,  I  resolved  on  an  assault, 
whilst  the  Indians  penetrated  his  camp* 

Brigadier-General  Hull,  however,  prevented  this  movement 
by  proposing  a  cessation  of  hostilities  for  the  purpose  of 
preparing  terms  of  capitulation. 



1  "  Life  of  Sir  Isaac  Brock/'  by  F.  B.  Tupper. 

8  In  order  to  free  his  communications  and  line  of  supplies,  and  secure 
their  safety. 

Second  in  command  of  the  American  Army. 

4  The  lines  in  italics  have  heen  placed  so  by  me  to  draw  attention  to 
them. 


ii  BROCK'S   OPERATIONS  51 


.Ifajor-General  Brock  to  his 

LAKE  ONTARIO,  September  3,  1812. 

You  will  have  heard  of  the  complete  success  which  attended 
the  efforts  I  directed  against  Detroit.  .  .  .  Some  say  that 
nothing  could  he  more  desperate  than  the  measure;  but  I 
answer  that  the  state  of  the  province  admitted  of  nothing 
but  desperate  remedies. 

I  got  possession  of  the  letters  my  antagonist  addressed 
to  the  Secretary  at  War,  and  also  of  the  sentiments  which 
hundreds  of  his  army  uttered  to  their  friends. 

Confidence  in  the  General  was  gone,  and  evident  despond- 
ency prevailed  throughout.  I  crossed  the  river  contrary  to  the 
opinion  of  Colonel  Proctor,  .  .  .  &c.;  it  is  therefore  no  wonder 
that  envy  should  attribute  to  good  fortune  what,  in  ju>tice  to 
my  own  discernment,  I  may  say  proceeded  from  a  cool  calcula- 
tion of  the  pours  et  contres  .  .  .  Let  me  know,  my  dearest 
brothers,  that  you  are  all  again  united.  The  want  of  union 
nearly  losing  this  province  without  a  struggle,  and  be 
assured  it  operates  in  the  same  degree  in  regard  to  families. 

It  has  always  been  felt,  and  rightly  so,  through- 
out Canada  that  the  success  of  the  campaign  of  1812 
was  due  largely  to  what  Sir  James  Macaulay  termed 
'*  the  talismanic  influence  and  ascendency  of  Brock 
over  his  fellow-men  —  to  the  Nelsonian  spirit  that 
animated  his  breast."5 

As  to  this,  my  father  writes  :  3- 

I  do  most  sincerely  believe  that  no  person  I  have  ever  seen 
could  so  instantly  have  infused,  under  such  discouraging  cir- 
cumstances, into  the  minds  of  a  whole  people  the  spirit  which, 
though  it  endured  long  after  his  fall,  was  really  caught  from 
him. 

The  repulse  of  the  first  invasion  of  Upper  Canada 

1  "  Life  of  Sir  Isaac  Brock,"  by  F.  B.  Tupper. 

2  Speech  at  Queenston  Heights,  Wth  July  1840. 

3  Letter  to  F.  B.  Tupper,  Esq.,  lUth  January  1846. 


52     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

at  Detroit  was  due  chiefly  to  the  foresight,  the  energy, 
and  the  correct  judgment  of  General  Brock ;  that  of 
the  second  invasion,  at  Queenston  Heights,  was  due 
very  possibly  to  the  example  of  his  courage  and  the 
resolution  to  avenge  his  death. 

On  this  account,  and  because  he  gave  his  life  for 
his  country,  Brock  will  ever  remain  the  hero  of 
Upper  Canada. 

A  brave  soldier,  an  able  leader,  and  a  good  man,  who 
honoured  by  his  life  and  ennobled  by  his  death  the  soil  on 
which  he  bled.1 

1  W.  F.  Coffin,  "  Chronicle  of  the  War  of  1812." 


CHAPTER   III 

CLOSING   YEARS   OF  THE   WAR,    1813-15 

Called  to  the  Bar — Appointed  Acting  Attorney-General — Duties  during 
the  war  Situation  in  Canada — Leiral  qiie>tions  arii-inir,  and  trials  of 
prisoners  for  treason  II is  >er\  ices  acknowledged  by  Sir  (Jordon 
Drurnmond — The  Peace — Ceases  to  be  Acting  Attorney-! ieneral  — 
Becomes  Solicitor-<  leneral  -  Determines  to  qualify  for  English  Bar 
— Armistice  on  the  Niagara  frontier— Letter  from  Dr.  Straehan — 
Further  connection  with  the  Militia-  <  )ccujiation  of  York,  1813 — 
Fir-t  leiral  opinion  ^iven  by  him  K\rri '.>ns  and  privations  of 
Canadian  Militia — Patriotism  >hown — More  knowledge  of  this  war 
desirahle—  Loyal  and  Patriotic  Society — Occupations  and  amuse- 
ments at  York,  1813-14 — Sir  Frederick  and  Sir  William  Robinson 
— Defensive  measures  advocated  by  my  father — Importance  of  com- 
mand of  the  Lakes— Letter  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington— Effect  on 
Kiiirlaiul  and  Canada  of  the  Wars  of  the  American  Revolution, 
177-"> -»."»,  and  of  1812-15  —  Letter  from  Sir  (iordon  Drurnmond 
as  to  application  for  leave — Sails  for  England  in  the  sloop-of-war 
Moryinna  —  The  voyage,  cod  fishing  off  the  Banks  —  Journey  to 
London. 

From  my  Fathers  Memoranda. 

I  HAD  not  yet  been  called  to  the  Bar,  and  could  not  be  till 
next  term  (Michaelmas  1812);  but  though  I  went  over  to 
York  then  for  that  purpose,  the  few  Benchers  of  the  Law 
Society  were  so  occupied  with  military  duties,  and  so  dispersed 
through  the  province,  that  there  was  no  convocation. 

In  those  days,  when  York  (now  Toronto),  the  seat  of 
Government,  was  but  a  small  village,  with  scarcely  700  in- 
habitants, there  was  not  much  to  distract  the  attention  of 
law  students;  and  those  who  did  not  read  must  have  been 
firmly  resolved  to  be  idle.  I  had  read  much  less  than  I 
should  have  done,  but  much  more  than  I  believe  was  usual, 
and  so  had  perhaps  the  reputation  of  being  studious. 

On  the  last  day  of  Michaelmas  term,  14th  November,  I 
was  called  to  the  Bar  by  a  special  Rule  of  Court ;  but  it  was 
not  till  Hilary  term,  1815,  when  the  war  was  nearly  concluded, 

53 


54     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

and  the  Militia  had  been  relieved  by  large  reinforcements  of 
regular  troops,  that  the  Law  Society  resumed  their  usual 
meetings  with  a  legal  quorum,  and  thenceforward  there  was 
no  interruption. 

A  statute  was  passed  in  1815,  which  was  drawn  up  by 
the  late  Dr.  Baldwin,  for  sanctioning  what  had  been  done 
irregularly  during  the  suspension,  and  preventing  any  injury 
to  those  who  had  been  unable  to  procure  admission  properly 
as  barristers  or  law  students  while  the  war  was  going  on. 
For  the  credit  of  the  profession  in  those  primitive  days,  all 
ought  to  read  this  Act,1  for  it  is  a  record  honourable  to  the 
men  and  boys  of  that  time. 

Sir  Roger  Sheaffe,  who  had  succeeded  Sir  Isaac  Brock  in 
the  command  and  in  the  civil  government,  had  made  my 
appointment  (to  be  Acting  Attorney-General)  in  my  absence. 
I  had  only  seen  him  once  as  he  passed  our  station  on  the 
river,  and  again  during  the  action  at  Queenston,  and  had  no 
acquaintance  with  him.  When  I  waited  upon  him,  which  I 
did  the  day  I  landed,  he  told  me  that  he  had  placed  me  in 
the  office  at  the  suggestion  of  Mr.  Justice  Powell,  who  was 
an  old  and  intimate  friend  of  his. 

From  that  time  until  the  end  of  the  war  in  1815,  I  con- 
tinued to  be  the  only  Crown  officer  in  Upper  Canada,  the 
Solicitor-General  being  still  detained  a  prisoner  at  Verdun 
in  France. 

In  my  first  interview  with  Sir  Roger  Sheaffe,  I  had  a 
case  submitted  to  me  rather  formidable  for  a  beginner,  viz., 
whether  the  inhabitants  of  the  Michigan  Territory,  which 
was  conquered  when  Hull  and  his  army  were  taken,  could 
be  compelled  to  render  service  to  the  British  Crown  as 
militiamen  while  the  war  was  still  going  on.  It  was  the 
first  legal  Opinion2  I  had  been  called  upon  to  give. 

The  first  brief  I  held  in  any  case  was  at  the  Assizes  at 
York  (Toronto)  in  March  1813,  when,  as  Acting  Attorney- 
General,  I  preferred  an  indictment  against  one  Shaw  for 
murder,  who  was  properly  acquitted. 

1  See  Appendix  A.,  I. 

2  For  this  Opinion,  see  page  60. 


in  TRIALS   OF  PRISONERS  55 

The  conquest  of  the  Michigan  Territory  gave  rise  to 
various  questions  of  public  law  respiting  the  duties  and 
rights  of  its  inhabitants,  in  which  the  Government  acted  by 
my  advice. 

During  the  war,  as  the  military  service  went  on  and 
difficulties  accumulated,  various  doubts  were  started  about 
the  exercise  of  martial  law,  statutes  had  to  be  framed  to 
meet  the  exigencies  of  the  time,  and  military  officers  had  to 
stained  in  the  Civil  Courts  against  actions  brought  by 
the  inhabitants  of  the  country  for  acts  done,  not  always  very 
discreetly,  under  the  pressure  of  the  public  service. 

In  all  these  defences  I  happily  succeeded,  and  I  have  a 
letter  from  General  Sir  Gordon  Drummond  acknowledging  in 
warm  terms  the  nature  of  the  services  which  I  had  rendered.1 

In  December  1812,  the  York  Militia  had  been  withdrawn 
from  the  Niagara  frontier.  When  spring  came,  the  enemy, 
having  command  of  the  Lakes,  brought  a  large  force  to 
Toronto,  and  succeeded  in  taking  posse.^sion  of  it,  which 
they  held  for  a  few  days,  when  they  next  attacked  Fort 
George  at  Niagara,  which  they  also  took,  and  established 
themselves  there,  the  British  force  falling  back  to  St.  Cathe- 
rines. Through  that  summer  and  in  the  following  year  the 
enemy  held  possession  of  a  large  portion  of  the  Niagara 
District.  Some  of  the  inhabitants  (chiefly  those  who  had 
come  in  before  the  war  from  the  United  States)  being 
disaffected,  gave  what  assistance  they  could  to  the  enemy, 
conveying  information,  and  aiding  in  plundering  their  loyal 
neighbours.  Others  enlisted  in  a  corps  that  was  raised  for 
the  service  of  the  enemy  by  a  Mr.  Willcocks  (formerly,  it 
was  said,  an  United  Irishman),  who  was  at  the  time  one  of 
the  members  of  the  Assembly  of  Upper  Canada,  and  who 
was  shot  in  the  ranks  of  the  enemy  in  an  attack  upon  Fort 
Erie. 

General  de  Rottenburg,  who  succeeded  Sir  Roger  Sheaffe 
in  the  government  of  Upper  Canada,  had  as  many  of  the 


1  Referring:,  most  probably,  to  a  letter  from  Sir  Gordon  Drummond,  of 
2fith  March  1817,  to  the  Under-Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies,  given 
in  Chapter  V. 


56     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

traitors  apprehended  as  could  be  got  hold  of;  and  after  I 
had  examined  and  reported  on  all  the  cases,  Sir  Gordon 
Drummond,  who  became  Governor  in  December  1813,  directed 
a  special  Commission  to  issue  for  their  trial. 

When  I  had  made  all  the  necessary  preparations,  and  was 
ready  to  proceed  with  the  trials,  Sir  Gordon  Drummond 
became  so  strongly  impressed  by  representations  made  to 
him  by  military  officers  and  others  that  it  would  be  impos- 
sible to  obtain  a  conviction  from  juries  of  the  country,  and 
was  so  perplexed  with  the  difficulties  which  he  imagined 
must  attend  the  proceeding  with  these  trials  while  the  enemy 
occupied  part  of  the  same  district,  that  he  wrote  to  me  ex- 
pressing his  conviction  that  it  would  be  unwise  to  persevere, 
and  that  the  Commission  must  be  abandoned,  at  least  for 
the  present. 

I  remonstrated,  stating  the  injurious  effect  this  would 
have  upon  public  feeling,  and  venturing  to  assure  him  that 
it  was  impossible  the  prosecutions  could  all  fail.  He  allowed 
the  trials  to  proceed;  and  out  of  twenty-one  prisoners  tried 
for  high  treason,  seventeen  were  convicted  upon  the  clearest 
evidence.1 

In  these  trials  there  were  no  Crown  officers  to  assist  me, 
I  had  no  one  to  share  the  responsibility  with  me  of  Public 
Prosecutor,  and  the  enemy  were  all  the  time  in  possession 
of  a  part  of  the  district  in  which  the  Court  sat.  I  mention 
it  as  a  curious  fact  that,  so  far  as  my  department  as  Attorney- 
General  was  concerned,  the  whole  expense  to  the  Government 
was,  I  think,  about  £4>5Q.  What  would  have  been  the  cost 
in  England? 

Thus  by  the  ordinary  course  of  law,  by  the  result  of  fair  and 
legal  trial  by  juries  of  the  country,  in  which  the  defendants 
had  all  those  opportunities  and  advantages  of  defence  which 
the  law,  peculiarly  indulgent  in  such  cases,  has  provided  for 
them,  the  Government  were  enabled  to  make  those  examples 
which  completely  secured  the  province  against  treason  and 

1  Kingsford,  in  his  "History  of  Canada,"  vol.  viii.  p.  471,  gives  the 
nes  of  eight  of  these  prisoners  in  whose  cases  the  extreme  penalty  of 


names 

the  law  was  carried  out. 


in  MADE  SOLICITOR-GENERAL         57 

rebellion  during  the  remainder  of  the  war,  and  which  it  was 
very  generally  imagined  and  imprudently  asserted  could  only 
be  effected  by  the  exercise  of  less  constitutional  jurisdiction. 

Executions  of  traitors  by  martial  law  would  have  had 
comparatively  little  influence ;  the  people  would  have  con- 
sider^! i  IK-HI  as  arbitrary  acts  of  vengeance,  but  would  not 
have  acknowledged  them  as  the  natural  effects  of  justice. 

Peace  came  in  1815,  and  we  had  happily  got  well  through 
all  difficulties.  The  Solicitor-General  had  obtained  his  liberty 
and  returned  from  France  to  England.  The  Government  in 
England,  very  justlv,  promoted  him  to  be  Attorney-General, 
and  made  me  Solicitor-General,1  my  appointment  as  Attorney- 
General  having  been  only  provisional  and  temporary.  I 
not  yet  in  the  Legislature,  no  election  having  occurred  since  I 
became  of  age;  and,  desiring  to  see  England,  and  to  free 
mv.H-lf  from  the  disadvantages  of  a  rule,  which  was  said  then 
to  prevail  in  the  Colonial  Office,  to  appoint  no  one  to  be 
Attorney-General,  or  Chief-Justice,  of  a  colony  who  was  not 
a  member  of  the  English  Bar,  I  obtained  leave  of  absence 
from  Sir  Frederick  Robinson,  who  was  then  our  Lieutenant- 
Governor,  and  went  to  England  in  September  1815,  with  the 
intention  of  keeping  as  many  terms  in  Lincoln's  Inn  as  my 
leave  would  allow. 

The  Government  kindly  gave  me  as  long  a  leave  as  they 
could,  and  the  Secretary  of  State  extended  it,  so  as  to  enable 
me  to  keep,  I  think,  eight  or  nine  terms  at  Lincoln's  Inn ;  but 
I  was  obliged  to  return  before  I  could  complete  twelve  terms, 
which  was  the  requisite  number,  and  I  could  not,  at  anv  rate, 
have  been  called  to  the  English  Bar  till  I  had  been  of  five  years' 
standing  in  the  books,  though  my  twelve  terms  could  have 
been  kept  in  three  years.  I  thought  myself  fortunate  in  get- 
ting so  near  the  accomplishment  of  my  object.  The  Secretary 
of  State  was  most  indulgent  in  granting  so  long  a  leave,  and 
I  suppose  was  induced  to  do  it  by  the  letters  which  Sir  Gordon 
Drummond  and  Sir  George  Murray,  under  whom  I  had  served, 
wrote  on  my  behalf. 


1  His  commission  as  Solicitor-General  is  dated  February  6,  181.5. 


58    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

An  armistice  of  thirty  days  upon  the  Niagara 
frontier  was  agreed  to,  after  the  battle  of  Queens- 
ton  Heights,  but  at  its  conclusion  the  war  was 
resumed,  though  the  campaign  for  that  year  was 
virtually  over. 

On  returning  to  the  army  (after  escorting  the 
prisoners  to  Kingston),  and  being  informed  of  his 
appointment  to  be  Acting  Attorney- General  of  the 
Upper  Province,  my  father  appears  not  to  have  gone 
back  to  York,  with  a  view  to  being  called  to  the 
Bar,  as  promptly  as  was  expected. 

Dr.  Strachan  writes  to  him  : — 

YORK,  November  9,  1812. 

DEAR  JOHN, — All  your  friends  are  astonished  that  you 
have  not  come  over  to  the  term  in  order  to  be  admitted  to 
the  Bar.  Not  being  aware  of  what  may  have  detained  you, 
I  doubt  not  but  you  have  a  satisfactory  reason.  My  object 
in  writing  is  to  request  you  to  get  leave  of  absence  instantly, 
and  come  over  with  the  first  vessel.  Do  not  delay  a  moment 
for  baggage.  You  have  no  time  to  lose,  as  the  term  is  nearly 
expired.  .  .  . 

We  are  all  well,  and  salute  you  affectionately, 

JOHN  STRACHAN. 

After  proceeding  to  York,  my  father  wrote  thus 
to  General  Sheaffe  :— 

December  12,  1812. 

In  the  flank  company  of  Militia  to  which  I  belong,  there 
are  two  subaltern  officers,  besides  myself :  and,  if  I  should  be 
ordered  to  remain  here,  may  I  be  suffered  still  to  retain  my 
commission,  so  that  I  shall  have  some  certain  character  to 
appear  in,  when  any  particular  occasion  shall  call  for  the  assist- 
ance of  all. 

He  was  evidently  instructed  to  take  up  his  civil 
duties  as  Attorney-General,  though  he  apparently 


CAPTURE   OF  YORK 


59 


stained  his  commission  in  the  Militia  force.  He 
gazetted  captain,  25th  Dec-ember  1812.  :*rd 
Regiment  York  Militia  ;  major,  21st  January  1820, 
2nd  Regiment  York  Militia  ;  colonel,  1st  January 
1823,  2nd  Regiment  East  York  Militia.  On  March 
11,  1813,  his  name  appears  in  Militia  orders  as  one 
of  a  board  of  officers  appointed  "  to  examine  into 
and  report  on  all  claims  for  disbursements  or  for 
services  performed  for  militia  purposes  in  the  Home 
and  Niagara  districts." 

Though  he  never  again  took  the  field,  he  witm 
in  1813  the  occupation  of  York,  which  was  taken  by 
the  enemy  during  the  time  when  the  American  fleet 
was  superior  on  Lake  Ontario. 

On  this  occasion  lie  accompanied  Colonel  Chewett 
and  Major  Allan,  who  had  been  deputed  by  General 
Shcatte  to  make  the  best  terms  possible  with  the 
United  States  officer  in  command.1 

By  the  terms  of  the  capitulation,  the  troops, 
regulars  and  militia,  at  York,  became  prisoners  of 
war,  and  the  Americans  secured  all  public  stores, 
naval  and  military. 

Private  property  wras  to  be  respected,  but  this 
condition  was  not  duly  observed,  and  some  of  the 
public  buildings  were  burnt  to  the  ground. 

For  some  time  to  come,  my  father's  duties  and 
occupations  were  more  or  less  closely  connected  with 
the  war,  though  of  a  civil  nature,  and  some  of  the 
work  which  devolved  upon  him  as  Attorney-General 
must  have  been  onerous  and  perplexing  for  one  so 
young. 

He  has  mentioned  that  the  first  legal  opinion  he 


1  "  Memoir    of  Bishop   Strachan,"   by   Bishop   Bet 
Kingsford's  "History  of  Canada/'  vol.  viii.,  p.  iv.:>,  fte, 


Bethune,    1870,    and 


60     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH 

had  to  give  was  whether  the  inhabitants  of  the 
Michigan  Territory,  which  was  conquered  when 
Hull  and  his  army  surrendered,  could  be  compelled 
to  render  military  service  against  the  United  States 
as  militia  while  the  war  was  still  going  on. 

A  rather  curious  point  was  here  involved.  In 
the  capitulation  between  Brock  and  Hull  no  mention 
of  the  Michigan  Territory  was  made,  although  the 
proclamation  issued  by  Brock,  immediately  after  the 
capitulation  and  on  the  same  day,  commences  with 
the  words  :  "  Whereas  the  Territory  of  Michigan 
was  this  day  by  capitulation  ceded  to  the  arms  of 
His  Britannic  Majesty." 

My  father's  opinion  is  thus  recorded  : — 

December  22,  1812. 

I  am  of  opinion  that  they  cannot.  By  the  capitulation  of 
the  16th  August  1812,  Fort  Detroit  only,  with  the  troops, 
regulars  as  well  as  militia,  were  surrendered  to  the  British 
forces.  The  consequent  proclamation  issued  by  General  Brock 
does  include  the  Michigan  Territory,  but  that  is  merely  an 
instrument  ex  parte,  proceeding  from  the  capitulation ;  and 
whereas  it  contradicts  it,  it  can  have  no  effect. 

He  continued  to  take  a  great  interest  in  every- 
thing connected  with  the  welfare  of  the  Militia,  whose 
privations  during  the  campaign  of  1812  had  been 
great. 

It  has  seldom  been  otherwise  with  our  troops 
when  called  upon,  after  many  years  of  peace,  to 
enter  upon  a  campaign.  Arrangements  for  equip- 
ment, clothing,  and  transport  had  to  be  hastily  carried 
out,  and  were  far  from  satisfactory. 

General  Brock  writes  : — 


ii  STATE   OF   THE   MILITIA  r,l 

February  12,  1812. 

I  have  not  a  musket  more  than  will  suffice  to  arm  the  active 
of  the  Militia  from  Kingston  westward. 

And  on  July  3rd — 

The  King's   stores  are  now  at  so   low   an  ebb  that  they 
scarcely    furnish    any  article    of  use    or    comfort.       Blankets, 
iversacks,  and  kettles  all   to  be  purchased,  and  the  troops, 
lien   watching   the   banks  of  the  river,  stand  in  the  utmost 
iced  of  tents. 

Again  on  July  12th — 

The  Militia  assembled  in  a  wretched  state  with  regard  to 
clothing.  Many  were  without  shoes,  an  article  which  can 
scarcely  he  provided  in  the  country.  Should  the  troops  have 
to  move,  the  want  of  tents  will  be  severely  felt. 

The  2500  stand  of  small  arms  captured  at  Detroit 
were  of  infinite  value. 

Friends  in  York,  however,  were  not  forgetful,  and 
did  all  they  could  on  behalf  of  the  soldi crs. 

Dr  Strachan  writes  thus  to  my  father  while  he 
was  still  on  the  Niagara  frontier  : — 

November  22,  1812. 

MY  DEAR  JOHN, — In  consequence  of  a  hint  in  the  letters  of 
Mr.  G.  Ridout  and  Mr.  Robert  Stanton  to  their  respective 
fathers,  the  gentlemen  of  York  met  to-day  in  the  church  for 
the  purpose  of  subscribing  towards  the  comforts  of  the  Militia 
belonging  to  this  district  on  actual  service,  especially  the  Hank 
companies. 

Our  subscription,  though  not  yet  paid,  amounts  to  «£J150, 
and  we  wish  your  and  Captain  Reward's  advice  how  to  dispose 
of  it  for  the  most  advantage  of  the  men.  Your  brother, 
Captain  Robinson,  thinks  that  the  captains  of  the  York 
Militia  should  make  a  requisition  upon  the  Quartermaster- 
General  for  flannel  sufficient  to  make  two  shirts  for  every  one 


G2    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

that  wants  them,  and  thread,  &c.,  to  make  them  up,  together 
with  a  pair  of  stockings  for  each,  and  we  will  supply  the 
captains  with  the  amount.  If  there  is  any  difficulty  in  making 
them  up,  we  can  get  it  done  here  instantly.  The  Militia  will 
be  much  pleased  when  they  know  with  what  alacrity  the  sub- 
scription proceeded. 

To  Lieut.  JOHN  B.  ROBINSON,  Brown's  Point,  by  Niagara. 

In  December   1812   the   "Loyal   and   Patriotic 
Society  of  Upper  Canada  "  was  formed  in  York. 
Its  original  object  was  a  double  one : — 

1.  The  aid  and  relief  of  the  families  of  militiamen 
in  distress  in  consequence  of  the  absence  of  husbands 
and  relations   in   defence   of  the   province ;    and 
militiamen  themselves,  disabled  in  the  service. 

2.  To  reward  merit  and  commemorate  glorious 
exploits  by  bestowing  medals  or  other  marks  of  dis- 
tinction for  extraordinary  instances   of  courage   or 
fidelity  shown  by  either  the  regular  or  militia  forces. 

Of  this  Society  Chief- Justice  Scott  was  president, 
and  the  directors  who  attended  the  first  meeting  were 
Judge  Campbell,  the  Reverend  Dr.  Strachan,  John 
Small,  William  Chewett,  my  father,  William  Allan, 
Grant  Powell,  and  Alexander  Wood  (secretary). 

A  report  of  the  proceedings  of  this  Society  was 
published  in  1817. 

It  not  only  shows  the  liberality  of  the  subscribers 
to  its  funds,  but  details  all  the  hard  cases  of  loss  and 
suffering  relieved,  with  the  estimated  value  of  the 
houses  and  property  burnt  or  destroyed  by  the 
Americans. 

The  Society  was  strictly  a  voluntary  and  private 
one,  and  received  no  aid  from  Government  funds. 
Contributions  came  from  England,  Jamaica,  Canadf 
Xova  Scotia,  &c.  Sir  Gordon  Drummond  and  Si] 


in     LOYAL  AND  PATRIOTIC  SOCIETY   63 


' 


Roger  Shcaffe  sent  liberal  subscriptions,  that  of  the 
former  being  especially  so,  viz.,  £500  (his  prize  money 
br  the  capture  of  Niagara). 

The  Militia  garrison  at  Yore — all  ranks — gave 
one  day's  pay. 

In  all,  C  17,000  was  collected. 

After  dealing  with  the  cases  of  distress  caused  by 
the  war,  the  hospital  in  Toronto  was  built  in  1820 
with  the  balance  remaining  in  hand.  Here  those 
who  had  been  wounded  or  lost  their  health  in  the 
service,  and  many  others,  obtained  relief. 

Kingsford,  in  his  "History  of  Canada,"  vol.  viii., 
,ge  235,  thus  speaks  of  this  Society,  in  the  adminis- 
tration of  which  my  father  took  a  great  and  active 
interest: — 

It  is  a  source  of  pride  and  satisfaction  to  know  that  the 

object   to  effect  which  the  "Loyal  and  Patriotic  Society"  was 

formed   was  /ealously,  ably,  and  unceasingly  kept  in  promin- 

,  and  that  the  duties  it  entailed  were  admirably  performed. 

Though  Gl  gold  and  548  silver  medals  were  struck 
in  England  for  this  Society,  they  were,  in  the  end, 
never  issued,  both  on  account  of  the  difficulty  of 
selecting  those  to  receive  them,  and  because  it  was  in 
many  quarters  considered  an  undue  assumption  for  a 
private  society  to  confer  medals  for  public  military 
service,  this  pertaining  to  the  sovereign  alone. 

The  design  and  fate  of  these  medals  is  given  in 
Appendix  A.,  II. 

There  was  a  determined  resolution  throughout 
Canada  to  carry  on  the  wrar,  and  every  endeavour 
was  made  to  contribute  to  the  comfort  of  the  troops. 

In  an  exhortation  pronounced  after  the  sermon, 


64     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

or  rather  in  continuation  of  it,   at  York    on    22nd 
November  1812,  Dr.  Strachan  says  :— 

The  time  for  forbearance  is  now  past,  and  we  must  come 
forward  with  courage  and  alacrity.  We  must  not  be  anxiously 
inquiring  for  flags  of  truce,  for  conditions  of  peace,  for  respites 
from  the  war,  but  we  must  prepare  for  the  event.  .  .  . 

England  expects  all  her  children  to  do  their  duty.  It  is 
ours,  at  this  moment,  to  comfort  those  who  are  fighting  our 
battles  and  defending  everything  dear  to  us  at  the  hazard  of 
their  lives. 

It  has  been  justly  said  by  more  than  one  writer 
upon  the  war  of  1812-15  that  the  exertions  and 
patriotism  of  the  Canadian  Militia  as  a  body  have 
never  been  properly  understood  beyond  Canada. 

The  reason  of  this  probably  is,  that  at  the  time  of 
the  war  public  attention  in  England,  and  in  Europe 
generally,  was  engrossed  by  the  struggle  with 
Napoleon,  and  also  that  the  sense  of  defeat  upon 
the  American  Continent  caused  in  England  by  the 
result  of  the  War  of  Independence,  and  by  certain 
reverses  or  failures  in  1813  and  1814,  upon  the 
Lakes,  at  Plattsburg,  and  at  New  Orleans,  was  so 
general,  that  it  has  led  many  to  the  very  erroneous 
impression  that  the  whole  war  we  are  now  alluding 
to  was,  in  some  way  or  other,  a  reverse. 

Thus  the  victories  of  Detroit  and  Queenston  in 
1812  ;  that  of  Chateauguay  ;  the  wonderful  night 
attack  at  Stoney  Creek,  one  of  the  most  successful 
in  history  ;  the  repulse  at  Chrystler's  Farm ;  the  cap- 
ture of  Fort  Niagara  ;  the  defeat  of  several  separate 
invasions  of  Canada ;  and  the  complete  triumph  in 
the  end  of  the  British  arms,  have  never  met  with 
the  general  recognition  which  is  their  due. 

\Vluit  is  much  wanted  is  that  the  history  of  every 


in       WAR  OF  1812  LITTLE   KNOWN        65 

portion  of  the  Empire,  and  of  how  it  has  been  built 
up  and  maintained,  should  be  made  a  special  subject 
of  education  in  England  and  also  in  the  Colonies. 
My  father,  writing  in  England  in  1839,  says : — 

It  is  often  a  subject  of  lamentation  in  the  Colonies  that  so 
little  scums  known  in  England  of  their  actual  condition,  but  I 
doubt  whether  there  is  any  reasonable  ground  for  a  complaint 
on  that  score. 

The  people  of  this  country,  like  their  brethren  in  the 
Colonies,  probably  study  those  things  most  which  appear  most 
immediately  and  directly  to  concern  them  ;  and,  after  all,  I 
daresay  they  know  quite  as  much  of  us  as  we  do  of  the  British 
Colonies  in  other  quarters  of  the  world. 

Still,  unquestionably,  this  is  a  branch  of  knowledge  which 
Imits  of  being  better  cultivated. 

It  is  admittedly,  however,  better  cultivated  now 
than  it  was  in  1839.  In  the  sixty  years  which  have 
elapsed  since  the  above  words  were  written,  a  great 
change  has  taken  place.  Colonial  subjects  are  now 
studied  as  they  never  were  before :  the  affection 
between  England  and  her  Colonies  has  deepened  ; 
their  pride  and  interest  in  each  other  is  increasing 
day  by  day  ;  and  much  is  being  done  to  cement 
more  closely  the  bonds  which  unite  the  Empire. 
We  may  even  go  further  now  and  hope  for  a  time 
when  there  will  be  a  union,  based  upon  mutual 
respect,  of  the  whole  Anglo-Saxon  race,  though 
serving  under  more  than  one  flag. 

During  1813  and  1814,  my  father's  name  appears 
as  one  of  the  "  Church  Wardens  and  Town  Wardens 
of  the  Town  of  York."  Also,  though  more  serious 
occupations  must,  while  the  war  was  going  on,  have 
left  him  little  time  for  the  amusements  natural  to 
his  age,  the  following  memoranda,  found  among  his 

E 


^  Managers. 


66     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

papers,  show  that  he  shared  in  these,  and  acted 
as  one  of  the  managers  of  the  York  Assemblies  in 
January  1814 : — 

Subscription  for  the  York  Assemblies. 

To  be  held  once  a  fortnight. 

The  subscribers  to  meet  at  Gilbert's,  on  Tuesday  the  4th 
inst.,  at  2  o'clock. 

Military  gentlemen  stationed  at  York  are  permitted  to 
subscribe  either  for  the  night  at  12/6  Halifax  Cy,  or  for  the 
remainder  of  the  season. 

Subscribers  are  requested  to  call  on  Mr.  J.  Robinson,  one 
of  the  managers,  to  pay  the  amount  of  the  subscription,  10 
dollars,  and  receive  tickets  for  the  season.1 

JOHN  B.  ROBINSON, 
GRANT  POWELL, 

A  ball  had  been  previously  given  (in  December 
1813)  to  the  ladies  and  strangers  of  York,  to  cele- 
brate the  announcement  of  the  capture  of  Niagara 
by  storm  on  19th  December  1813.  I 

The  names  of  the  subscribers  to  these  early  enter- 
tainments in  Toronto  may  be  of  interest  in  Canada, 
so  are,  together  with  some  other  details  as  to  them, 
given  in  Appendix  A.,  III. 

During  the  year  1814,  peace  having  been  made 
with  France,  the  British  Government  was  able  to 
send  out  to  Canada  several  of  the  regiments  which 
had  fought  under  Wellington  in  Spain  and  the  south 
of  France — a  force  amounting  in  all  to  about  16,000 
men. 

One  of  the  brigades  in  this  force  was  commanded 
by  General  (afterwards  Sir  Frederick)  Robinson ; 2  and 


The  first  Assembly  was  held  at  O'Keefe's  Tavern  on  Tuesday  evening, 
llth  January  1814,  dancing  commencing  at  seven  o'clock. 
3  See  Appendix  B.,  III. 


in        SUGGESTIONS   FOR   DEFENCE        67 

during  the  war  his  brother,  Commissary  -  General 
(afterwards  Sir  William)  Robinson,  had  charge  of 
the  commissariat  department  for  some  time. 

My  father  thus  made  the  acquaintance  of  both 
these  sons  of  Colonel  Iteverley  Robinson  between 
ic  years  1813  and  1815  in  Canada,  and  met  them 
several  occasions,  receiving  no  little  kindness  from 
lem. 

On  the  24th  December  1814,  peace  was,  by  the 
Treaty  of  Ghent,  signed  between  Great  Britain  and 
the  United  States  of  America. 

I  will  mention  at  this  point,  as  it  bears  upon  the 
war,  that  my  father,  when  in  England  in  1839,  was 
requested  to  put  on  paper  the  measures  which,  from 
liis  long  acquaintance  with  the  country,  he  considered 
would  most  tend  to  give  security  and  confidence  to 
Canada. 

Writing  then  to  Lord  Normanby,  Secretary  of 
State  for  the  Colonies,  2!)th  March  1839  (i.e.,  after 
the  experience  of  1812-15  and  of  the  occurrences  at 
Navy  Island  in  the  rebellion  of  1837-38),  he  advo- 
cated the  following  measures  for  defence  : — 

1.  That  to  a  moderate  extent  those  naval  establishments 
should  be  restored  upon  the  Lakes  Huron,  Erie,  and  Ontario, 
which  were  continued  for  some  time  after  the  peace  of  1815, 
ami  which  it  will  probably  never  be  safe  to  dispense  with 
hereafter. 

£.  That  the  attention  of  the  Government  should  be  given 
to  forming  a  naval  depot  at  Penetanguishene,  on  Lake  Huron, 
that  being  a  post  which  may  be  easily  secured  against  attack, 
and  to  which  there  is  now  no  difficulty,  since  the  completion 
of  the  Welland  Canal,  in  transporting  the  heaviest  stores  by 
water. 

3.  That  there  should  be  established  certain  strong  posts 


68    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

in  Upper  Canada,  as  depots  for  arms  and  ammunition,  in 
which  garrisons  could  be  constantly  kept  sufficient  to  guard 
them,  and  upon  which  the  Militia  could  rally  in  case  of  in- 
surrection or  invasion.  For  instance,  some  points  on  the  line 
of  the  Rideau  Canal,  Kingston,  Toronto,  Burlington  Heights, 
London,  Lundy's  Lane,  Chatham,  Penetanguishene,  —  small 
garrisons  being  kept  up  at  Niagara  and  Amherstburg. 

4.  That  some  colonial  corps  be  raised  for  a  long  period 
of  service  in  the  British  North-American  Colonies  only. 

5.  That   at   some   two   points  in  the  province  guns  and 
artillery  stores  shall  be  kept  sufficient  for  the  defence  of  the 
province  against  any  sudden  emergency — e.g.  at  Kingston  and 
Burlington  Heights. 

6.  That  whatever  may   be  done  in  the  establishment  of 
posts,  erection  of  barracks,  &c.,  shall  be  done  in  such  a  manner 
as  to  prove  that  the  Government  is  pursuing  a  deliberately 
settled  plan  of  defence,  with  the  intention  of  maintaining  the 
dominion  of  the  Crown  permanently.      I  mean  by  this  that 
mud  forts  and  wooden  barracks  are  not  the  description   of 
defence  calculated  to  give  confidence  on  one  side  or  discourage 
restless  spirits  on  the  other. 

My  father  also  says,  in  "  Canada  and  the  Canada 
Bill"  (1840):— 

Fourteen  or  fifteen  years  ago,  when  the  Duke  of  Wellington 
was  in  office,  he  determined  to  erect  a  work  in  a  commanding 
position  near  the  Niagara  frontier,  which  would  have  included 
an  arsenal,  and  formed  a  rallying-point  for  the  Militia  of  the 
country.  The  site  of  the  intended  work  was  purchased,  and 
measures  were  in  progress  for  commencing  it;  but  a  change 
in  the  affairs  of  this  country  (England)  led  to  an  abandon- 
ment of  the  design,  and  the  land  was  relinquished  to  the 
former  owner.  If  such  a  defence,  however  limited  in  extent, 
had  been  completed,  and  had  been  garrisoned  by  200  men, 
who  could  probably  nowhere  else  have  found  a  cheaper  quarter, 
the  movement  at  Navy  Island  (during  the  rebellion  of  1837-38) 
and  its  whole  train  of  consequences  would  have  been  pre- 
vented. 


in  DEFENCE    OF   CANADA  69 

Elsewhere  (see  chap.  iv.),  in  connection  with  the 
projected  removal  of  the  capital  from  York  (Tor- 
onto), he  also  touches  upon  the  importance  and 
defensibility  of  York  at  this  time. 

Certainly  one  #rcat  lesson  taught  by  the  war,  and 
>y  the  way  in  which  success  during  it  fluctuated  with 
the  command  of  the  Lakes,  is  the  vital  importance  of 
this  command  to  Canada.1 

In  connection  with  this,  the  following  letter  from 
Duke  of  Wellington  to  Sir  George  Murray" 
lould  never  be  lost  sight  of:— 


To  L'h-ntcuunt-General  Sir  6Vor»v  J///ra7/y,  K.B. 

PAIU>.  i::_W  l),;;-n<t,,>r  1814. 


.  .  Whether  Sir  George  Prevost    was  right   or  wrong  in 
lis  decision  at   Lake  t'hamplain   is   more   than   I   can   tell,  but 
of  this    I   am    very  certain,  he   must   equally  have   retired   to 
Kingston,  after  our  fleet  was   beaten,  and    I   am   inclined    to 
believe  he  v\as  right. 

I  have  told  the  Ministers  repeatedly  that  a  naval  superiority 
the  Lakes  is  a  .sine  qua  non  of  success  in  war  on  the  frontier 
Canada,  even  if  our  object  should  be  solely  defensive,  and  I 
hope,  when  you  are  there,  they  will  take  care  to  secure  it  for 
you. — Believe  me,  &c.,  WELLINGTON. 

It  may  be  of  interest  to  give  my  father's  opinion 
as  to  the  effects  which  the  separation  of  the  Ameri- 
can Colonies  from  Great  Britain  in  the  Revolutionary 
War,  the  war  of  1812-15,  and  some  other  circum- 

1  I  am  aware  that  the  maintenance  of  any  men-of-war  upon  the  Lakes 
in  time  of  peace  is  now  regulated  by  treaty  with  the  United  States;  but, 
not  forgetting  this,  there  is  still  much  in  the  above  s indirection  deserving  of 
serious  consideration  now,  having  regard  to  the  difficulty  of  securing  the 
p;i.— Hire  of  gunboats  through  the  canals  and  to  the  American  establishments 
on  the  Lake  borders. 

2  "  Despatches  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington/'  Gurwood,  vol.  xii.,  p.  224. 


70      SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

stances,  have  had  upon  Canada,  in  respect  more 
especially  to  the  maintenance  and  strengthening  of 
British  connection. 

Writing  in  1839,1  he  says  : — 

By  those  who  are  sufficiently  humble  to  believe  in  the  exist- 
ence of  a  superior  intelligence,  it  is  very  frequently  remarked, 
as  they  pass  through  life,  how  much  better  matters  have  been 
ordered  for  them  by  Providence  than  they  would  have  been 
ordered  by  themselves. 

Let  any  one  look  attentively  at  the  map  of  North  America, 
and  mark  what  were  once  the  possessions  of  Great  Britain  upon 
that  Continent,  and  what  portion  of  them  she  still  retains. 
Then  let  him  consider  how  frequently,  and  even  within  the 
present  century,  historians  and  statesmen  have  lamented  the 
loss  of  those  immense  colonies  (such  as  no  nation  ever  before 
possessed)  which  form  now  the  Republic  of  the  United  States. 
We  have  heard  by  turns  the  policy  condemned  which  led  to 
the  revolt,  and  the  military  blunders  deplored  which  rendered 
it  successful.  .  .  . 

But  no  one  who  desires  that  the  British  power  should  con- 
tinue for  ages  to  maintain  its  ground  in  North  America  can 
now  think  these  events  unfortunate. 

They  (the  Colonies)  must  soon  have  outgrown  the  conditions 
in  which  they  would  have  required  protection;  they  have 
already  long  outgrown  it ;  and  the  conflicting  interests  of 
trade,  with  the  inconveniences  which  mere  distance  occasions 
in  the  exercise  of  an  actual  superintendence,  would  sooner  or 
later  have  produced  desires  strong  enough  to  overbear  the 
feelings  of  attachment  and  the  sense  of  duty  .  .  .  more 
especially  in  Colonies  settled  as  these  have  been. 

But  is  it  not  clear  that  if  the  event  had  been  delayed,  those 
other  possessions  upon  the  American  Continent  which  Great 
Britain  still  retains  would  have  become  peopled  with  colonists 
of  the  same  description,  and  that  when  at  last  the  struggle 
came,  all  would  have  gone  together  ? 

>  "Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill/'  written  and  published  by  him  whil< 
in  England,  1839. 


in    \VARS— EFFECT  OX  CANADA    71 

If  we  admit,  as  I  think  we  must,  that  the  circumstance  of 
the  older  colonies  having  severed  the  connection  at  so  early  a 
date  has  been  in  fact  the  means  of  saving  the  present  British 
provinces  to  the  Mother  Country,  it  is  scarcely  less  certain  that 
the  war  of  1812,  which  was  engaged  in  by  the  United  States 
mainly  for  the  purpose  of  subjugating  the  Canadas,  has 
had  the  effect  of  binding  them  much  more  strongly  to  the 
Crown. 

Nor  are  these  the  only  circumstances,  supposed  at  the  time 
to  be  unfortunate,  in  which  events  have  strongly  tended  to  the 
reservation  of  British  power  on  that  Continent  (America). 

Every  one  knows  that  at  the  conclusion  of  the  American 
Revolutionary  War  in  1783,  by  some  strange  mismanagement 
of  the  British  negotiators,  there  was  ceded  to  the  late  American 
Ionics  not  mt'ivlv  their  independence,  but  with  it  an  hum. 
'gion  to  which  they  had  no  claim — I  mean  that  Western  and 
North- Western  territory  which  is  now  becoming  the  abode  of 
millions. 

This,  too,  has  been  reckoned  a  misfortune,  but  a  little  con- 
sideration, I  think,  will  convince  us  that,  after  all,  it  is  not  to 
be  regretted. 

A  country  of  such  boundless  extent,  of  such  variety  of 
climate  and  production,  to  a  great  part  of  which  the  Mississippi 
and  not  the  St.  Lawrence  is  the  natural  outlet,  would  hardly 
have  been  maintained  for  a  long  period  in  dependence  on  the 

; British  Crown. 
...  In  the  event  of  war,  the  territory  would  have  been  much 
o  remote  a  field  for  British  forces  to  have  acted  in  with  effect, 
r  they  would  have  been  too  distant  from  their  resources. 
.  .  .  Being  divided  from  the  United  States  by  no  natural 
Boundary,  the  amalgamation  of  a  people  speaking  the  same 
language  would  long  before  this  time  have  proceeded  to  such 
an  extent  as  to  decide,  almost  silently,  the  question  of  country. 
...  I  do  really  believe,  therefore,   that  the   Englishman 
who  desires  that  his  country  should  retain  a  permanent  footing 
upon    that   Continent   (America),  and   the   British-American 
colonist  who  earnestly  hopes,  as  the  bulk  of  them  do,  that  the 
connexion  may  continue  while   the  British    name  lasts,   have 


72    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

both  of  them  reason  to  rejoice  in  the  facts  I  have  adverted  to, 
and  to  be  more  than  contented  that  matters  now  stand  pre- 
cisely as  they  do.  .  .  . 

To  pass  on  now  from  the  subject  of  the  war. 
When,  after  the  peace,  Mr.  Boulton  returned  to 
Canada  from  his  imprisonment  in  France,  and  was 
appointed  Attorney-General,  relieving  my  father, 
who  was  nominated  to  be  Solicitor-General,  from 
the  duties  he  had  been  provisionally  performing, 
the  latter's  project  of  proceeding  to  England  for 
the  purpose  of  travelling  and  qualifying  for  the 
English  Bar  was  assisted  in  every  way  by  Sir 
Gordon  Drummond,  the  Lieutenant  -  Governor  of 
Upper  Canada,  who  wrote  the  following  letter  on 
his  behalf  to  Sir  George  Murray,  then  about  to 
succeed  him  as  Lieutenant- Governor  : — 

CASTLE  OP  ST.  Louis,  QUEBEC,  May  1,  1815. 

MY  DEAR  SIR  GEORGE, — Allow  me  to  introduce  to  your 
favourable  notice  Mr.  Robinson,  the  Solicitor-General  in  your 
province,  who  is  a  young  man  of  most  exemplary  character 
and  talents,  that  afford  every  prospect  of  his  becoming  both  an 
ornament  to  the  province  and  a  most  zealous  and  able  supporter 
of  the  interests  of  the  Crown. 

...  I  should  not  have  hesitated  for  a  moment  to  have  met 
his  views  in  regard  to  visiting  England  for  the  laudable  purpose 
of  being  there  called  to  the  Bar. 

I  shall  therefore  hope  his  application  will  meet  your  coun- 
tenance and  support,  and  I  beg  you  will  believe  me  to  be,  my 
dear  Sir  George,  your  faithful  and  humble  servant, 

GORDON  DRUMMOND. 
Lieut-General  Sir  GEORGE  MURRAY,  G.C.B. 

But  though  he  then  obtained  leave  of  absence, 
unexpected  and  urgent  business  delayed  his  depar- 
ture, and  it  was  not  until  some  few  months  later 
that  he  left  Canada,  with  leave  for  six  months  from 


in  SAILS   FOR  ENGLAND  73 

the  1st  of  September  1815,  granted  by  Sir  Frederick 
Robinson,  then  Provisional  Lieutenant-Go  vernor  of 
the  Upper  Province. 

Uis    voyage    to    England    in    the    sloop-ol 
Morg'uindi  Captain   Xewton,  in  which  he  was  given 
a  passage  from  Quebec  to  Portsmouth,  was  remark- 
able as   being  one  of  the  fastest,  if  not  the  fast 
ever  made  under  sail. 

While  staying  at  Quebec  waiting  for  a  favour- 
able wind,  a  violent  contrary  gale  having  set  in,  he 
was  assured  that  the  Morgiann  could  not  sail  for 
some  length  of  time,  but  suddenly  at  night  the  wind 
changed  ;  signal  guns  from  the  ship  had  failed  to 
attract  attention,  and  in  the  morning  lie  found  that 
ic  Morgiana  had  sailed  without  him. 

He  had  hurriedly  to  engage  a  pilot  boat  floating 
in  the  stream,  for  £6,  and  follow  the  vessel  to  the 
Brandy  Pots,  38  leagues,  where  she  would  certainly 
stop  for  wood. 

We  now  quote  largely  from  his  journal. 


Sunday,  2  I/A  ^-/.fnnher  1815. 

.  .  .  Mrs.  Charles  Stewart,  the  daughter  of  the  late  Donald 
M'Lean  of  York,  with  her  warm  friendly  heart,  insisted  on 
putting  into  the  boat  some  porter,  wine,  and  bread  and  cheese  ; 
the  pilot  had  some  warm  clothes  and  provisions,  and  thus 
without  a  mouthful  of  breakfast,  and  with  a  cold  which  made 
it  almost  impossible  for  me  to  speak,  I  set  out.  The  night 
was  not  dark,  but  lia/y  and  very  cold.  The  old  man  and  I 
steered  by  turns,  as  he  required  some  sleep. 

At  length,  after  a  run  of  about  twelve  hours,  they 
overtook  a  large  ship  anchored  just  at  the  entrance 
of  "  The  Traverse,"  some  66  miles  from  Quebec,  and 
hailing  her,  found  her  to  be  the  Morgiana,  but  were 
carried  past  her. 


74     SIR  JOHN  BEVEKLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

They  did  not  discover  us  until  it  was  too  late  to  throw  out 
a  rope,  and  such  was  the  irresistible  force  of  the  tide  that  we 
shot  past  her  in  an  instant.  We  all  took  to  our  oars,  but  it 
was  in  vain ;  we  were  borne  away  rapidly,  and  our  only  course 
was  to  run  across  to  the  nearest  shore  till  the  tide  slackened. 
We  came  to  anchor  about  a  mile  out;  the  swell  tossed  our 
little  boat  about  prodigiously,  and  the  cold  was  so  great  that 
we  could  sleep  but  little.  Just  before  daylight  we  renewed  our 
efforts.  The  wind  had  increased,  and  blew  violently,  but  by 
the  help  of  the  tide,  which  was  now  with  us,  we  got  on  board 
at  daylight.  My  cold  was  much  increased  by  my  exposure, 
and  I  slept  badly.  In  the  afternoon  we  made  the  Brandy  Pots, 
and  came  to  anchor. 

The  rest  of  his  voyage  was  a  prosperous  one,  and 
with  Captain  Newton  and  his  officers,  all  of  whom 
were  most  attentive,  he  passed  a  very  pleasant  time 
of  it. 

The  Morgiana  is  an  uncommonly  snug  fine  vessel  of  her 
class.  She  was  built  at  Bermuda  in  1812,  of  cedar  ;  is  a  sloop- 
of-war  of  eighteen  guns.  Her  crew  consists  of  a  master  and 
commander,  two  lieutenants  (George  Robinson  and  William 
Rid  g way),  one  master  (Mr.  Ramsay),  surgeon  (Dr.  Cosgrave),  a 
clerk,  purser  (Mr.  Wallace),  master's  mate,  three  midshipmen, 
carpenter,  sailmaker,  quartermasters,  boatswain,  gunner,  125 
seamen,  and  20  marines.  Captain  Scott  formerly  commanded 
her.  Captain  Newton,  until  he  joined  this  ship  last  year,  had 
the  Nimrod,  a  sloop-of-war,  off  the  coast  of  America.  He 
took  many  small  craft,  few  of  much  value. 

Off  the  Great  Bank  of  Newfoundland  the  captain 
determined  to  stop  and  fish  for  cod. 

The  following  extract  describes  a  good  day's 
fishing : — 

Every  ship^s  company  are  provided  with  fishing  lines  by 
Government,  one  line  to  each  mess  ;  and  it  is  curious  to  see  the 
anxiety  of  each  person  for  the  success  of  his  mess.  The  captain 


mu 

i. 


in      COD-FISHING  OFF  THE  BANKS       7  > 

fished  for  our  mess  and  caught  five  large  cod  and  two  halibuts, 
which  he  gave  awav.  Lieutenant  Robinson  was  the  great 
fisherman  of  the  gunroom  mess.  He  was  very  successful,  and 
caught  eight  or  ten  very  fine  codfish,  besides  an  immense 
halibut.  The  taking  of  this  monster  excited  as  much  bustle 
and  noise  of  the  whole  ship's  crew  as  the  carrying  away  a  mast. 

We  got  out  the  jolly-boat,  and  with  great  difficulty  took 
r  in.  Cut  up  and  \\eighed  in  pieces,  she  weighed  °.4o  pounds. 

The  codfish  taken  here  were  all  uncommonly  large  and  in 
fine  season.  Some  of  the  lines  caught  from  twelve  to  twenty 


1 


: 


The  ship  became  a  strange  scene  during  the  day.  A  range 
of  lines  all  along  the  windward  side,  and  two  or  three  large  fish 
constantly  hauling  up;  the  jolly-boat  manned  and  rowing  oft 

take  up  those  too  large  or  insecurely  hooked  to  be  pulled 
up  the  ship's  side,  and  also  to  pick  up  such  as  drop  from 
the  hook  after  they  are  raided  out  of  the  water;  for  from  some 
cause  they  generally  remain  floating  on  the  surface,  though 
some  sink. 

The  decks  were  all  bustle,  full  of  fish  ;  some  fellows  cleaning 
the  fish,  others  salting,  others  hoisting  them  up  the  rigging  to 
dry.  The  sailors  make  incisions  on  the  back  denoting  the 
number  of  the  mess  the  fish  belong  to.  What  each  man  takes 
is  considered  sacredly  his,  and  the  officers  claim  none;  so  that, 
if  they  are  unlucky  in  fishing,  they  buy  or  beg.  Here,  how- 
ever, we  had  no  need. 

\Ye  fished  in  about  forty  fathoms  of  water,  and  kept  the 
hook  near  the  bottom,  which  made  it  no  trifling  job  to  haul 
up  a  fish. 

From  the  "  Banks "  in  nine  more  days,  with  a 
following  gale  the  whole  way,  so  that  they  were 
never  compelled  to  vary  one  point  from  their  course, 
they  wrere  in  soundings  in  the  English  Channel, 
having  made  on  an  average  of  this  time  nearly  nine 
knots  an  hour. 

At  11  A.M.  (October  16,  1815)  we  anchored  at  Spithead, 
having  had  just  twenty-two  days'*  run  from  Quebec  to  Ports- 


76     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

mouth.  Deduct  two  and  a  half  days  we  were  at  anchor  in  the 
river  getting  wood,  and  the  day  we  fished  at  Newfoundland 
Bank,  we  were  only  eighteen  and  a  half  days  from  Quebec  to 
Portsmouth — a  thing  almost  unexampled. 

The  next  morning,  at  7  A.M.,  my  father  set  off  in 
the  "  Waterloo  "  light  coach  from  the  Crown  Inn  at 
Portsmouth  for  London. 

The  waiter  scraped  towards  me,  and  I  answered  his  signal 
with  3s.  He  then  begged  leave  to  remind  me  of  the  chamber- 
maid. I  told  him  she  was  "provided  for.1'  "Boots,  sir,  if 
you  please !  "  Now  I  had  put  my  boots  on  as  I  took  them 
off;  therefore,  as  there  must  be  some  end  to  imposition,  I 
observed  that  neither  I  nor  my  boots  had  been  introduced 
to  him. 

I  found  that,  though  the  coachman  expected  a  token 
beyond  his  fare,  and  the  waiter  had  gotten  one,  neither  one 
nor  the  other  would  presume  to  lay  hands  upon  my  trunk. 
That  was  a  separate  concern,  of  which  I  was  soon  made  sensible 
by  the  amusing  hint,  "  Remember  the  porter,  sir  ! "  Thus  I 
was  obliged  to  detail  another  shilling.  This,  however,  only 
had  virtue  sufficient  to  bring  my  trunk  to  the  side  of  the 
"  Waterloo,""  when  all  that  had  anything  to  do  with  it  before 
were  now  perfectly  functi  officio,  and  a  worthy  fat  creature 
kindly  put  it  on  the  boot,  and  most  politely  addressed  me  with 
"  Please  remember  the  porter  to  the  coach,  your  honour." 

My  generosity  fell  one-half,  and  I  had  the  conscience  to 
offer  him  only  6d. 

Certainly,  however,  when  you  have  got  through  this  cere- 
mony, you  travel  like  a  gentleman.  The  style  of  everything  is 
respectable.  Jonathan  takes  you  the  same  distance,  through 
worse  roads,  for  half  the  money,  and  if  he  does  not  tickle  you 
with  "  your  honour,"  neither  does  he  ask  or  look  for  shillings. 

But  then  he  drives  you  in  his  shirt-sleeves,  and  himself,  his 
horses,  harness,  and  carriage  are  all  types  of  independence, — 
independence  of  comfort,  appearance,  and  decorum. 


Travelling  by  Petersfield,  Godalming,  and  Kings- 


in          PORTSMOUTH   TO   LONDON  77 


„. 


: 


n,  he  got,  at  the  latter  place,  his  first  view  of 
Father  Thames.  It  struck  him,  accustomed  to  the 
great  rivers  and  lakes  in  America,  as  small.  "  I  do 
aver  that  in  this  place,  only  twelve  miles  ahove  Lon- 
don, it  barely  rates  with  the  Don — Jonathan  would  call 
it  a  Creek  ;  "  and  then,  passing  by  Richmond  Park, 
and  across  Wimbledon  Common,  through  Wands- 
worth,  and  over  Westminster  Uridge,  lie  drove  up 
the  Strand  by  Charing  Cross,  where  he  had  a 
"  moonlight  glimpse  of  the  equestrian  statue  of 
Charles  I.,  remarkable  from  being  the  first  erected 
in  the  United  Kingdom/'  and  drew  up  at  the  (iolden 
Cross  Inn,  where  lie  remained  for  the  night. 

I  have  given  the  above  journey  to  London,  as  it 
is  interesting  to  compare  the  mode  and  expense  of 
travelling  in  1815  with  that  of  the  present  day. 

The  inside  coach  fare  was  Cl,  15s.  from  Ports- 
outh  to  London,  plus  9s.  extra  for  one  trunk 
("  which  was  a  little  above  the  ordinary  size  "),  i.e. 
in  all  £2,  4s.,  in  addition  to  tips,  &c.,  and  meals  on 
the  way.  The  time  occupied  on  the  journey,  in- 
cluding stoppages,  must  have  been  about  twelve 
hours.  The  distance  by  road,  owing  to  the  wind- 
ings, was  no  doubt  some  miles  greater  than  the 
present  distance  by  rail  (73J  miles),  over  which  one 
now  travels,  first-class,  by  express,  in  two  hours, 
for  12s.  2d. 

The  next  day,  Mr.  Andre,  120  New  Bond  Street, 
supplied  him  with  "a  hat  for  £l,  16s.,  and  5s.  Gd. 
for  a  common  oil-cover,"  and  he  and  his  two  little 
daughters  surveyed  the  guineas  my  father  had  brought 
from  Canada  with  him  with  much  astonishment. 

"  That  is  a  veiy  strange  sight,  sir,  here  ;  I've  seen 
nothing  like  them  this  long  time." 


78     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

After  a  few  days  he  settled  down  in  lodgings  at 
30  Craven  Street,  Strand,  where  a  friend,  Lieutenant 
Pearson,  of  the  Navy,  was  living,  and  the  period  of 
two  years  which  he  now  spent  in  England  and  on 
the  Continent — for  his  original  leave  of  absence  was 
extended — was  both  a  useful  and  happy  one. 

For  the  next  nine  months  he  remained  chiefly  in 
London,  and  at  the  end  of  that  time  went  for  a  short 
trip  on  the  Continent. 

His  position  as  Solicitor-General  of  Upper  Canada, 
and  the  introductions  he  had  taken  with  him,  enabled 
him  to  see  more  of  English  life  and  society  than  so 
young  a  man,  without  any  near  relations  in  the 
country,  could  well  have  expected. 

The  Solicit  or- General  (Sir  Samuel  Shepherd) 
showed  him  much  kindness ;  and,  through  him,  the 
Attorney- General,  and  other  legal  men  of  standing, 
he  was  able  to  see  everything  connected  with  the 
English  courts  and  their  proceedings. 

Throughout  this  time  he  read  steadily  for  his 
profession,  and  was  constantly  meeting  old  friends 
in  the  Army  and  Navy,  with  whom  he  had  been 
thrown  in  Canada  during  the  war,  and  also  Cana- 
dian acquaintances. 

A  letter  from  Sir  Frederick  Robinson  to  Mr. 
Merry,  then  Deputy  Secretary  at  War,  led  to  the 
great  happiness  of  his  life,  i.e.  his  marriage ;  and 
with  the  Merry  family  and  their  relations  he  spent 
much  of  his  time. 


CHAPTER   IV 

LIFE    IN    ENGLAND 
OCTOBER  1815  TO  AUGUST  181G 

•ury  Lane  Theatre:  Kenn,  Pope— Covent  Garden:  Mis^  O'Neill— 
kemhle  —  Sir  Samuel  Shepherd —  Sir  \\  .  Garrow-  Sir  \Y.  Grant — 
Sir  Samuel  Romilly  -Sir  J.  Man>tield  — The  Exchequer  Court — Old 
Book<eller  -Mr.  Ridout .- -Lord  Mayor's  Day — Lord  Kllenborouifh — 
Dinner  at  Lincoln's  Inn — Covent  Garden:  Mi-s  Ste\  en>,  Matthews, 
Liston — Court  of  Common  Pleas:  Copley,  Sir  V.  Gibl>s-  The  Merry 
Family — Chapel  Royal,  Whitehall — Illuminations  for  the  Pence — 
We>tmin-ter  Hall  :  llrou  heating  witnesses  —  Huonaparte — Card-play- 
ing \\ool\vicli  :  Colonel  Pilkhiirton  -Henry  «J.  Boulton  -Oxford — 
lllenheim--Kvenin<r  parties — Letters  from  Sir  Frederick  Robinson — 
IIi>  views  and  Dr.  St radian's  as  to  removing  the  seat  of  Government 
from  ^'ork  to  Kingston  Memorandum  as  to  this  — Advi-ed  to  remain 
in  Fiiirland  -The  Canada  Cluh —Covent  Garden  Theatrical  Fund 
dinner— Sir  II.  Sheaffe  — Mr.  .Justice  Grose — Lord  Krskine—  Ilou>e  of 
Lords  -House  of  Commons- St.  (ieorire  —  Lelievre—  Sjiarriiiir :  Crib, 
lielcher — The  llinir  :  Carter,  Lancaster — Mrs.  ( Jarratt—  Marriaire  of 
I'rince<s  Charlotte-  Literary  Fund  dinner — The  Old  Bailey-  Mr-. 
Siddons — The  Booths — Norwich — Campbell  the  poet — Harwich — 
lp>\\ich — Miss  Forth. 

From  my  Fathers  Journal. 

October  19,  1815. — In  the  evening  I  took  it  into  my  head 
to  stroll  to  Drury  Lane  Theatre.  The  tragedy  was  "  Othello." 
and  the  great,  the  famous  Mr.  Kean,  personated  the  swarthy 
hero. 

The  audience  clapped  and  applauded  where  his  perform- 
ance was  most  (nitre  and  unnatural.  His  figure,  diminutive, 
thin,  and  ungraceful,  could  be  supposed  to  resemble  the  Moor 
in  nothing  but  its  blackness. 

In  general  he  was  boisterous,  when  he  should  have  been 
tender  and  subdued. 

Pope  in  lago  I  thought  better. 

The  after-piece,  "  The  Deserter,"  was  infinitely  better  done. 

79 


80     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

Mrs.  Bland   in  Jenny  was  excellent.     Knight  in  Simkin  was 
nature  itself,  and  Munden  in  Skirmish  performed  very  well. 

I  went  on  Saturday  evening  to  Covent  Garden.  Miss 
O'Neill  in  Isabella  is  far  beyond  any  actor  in  tragedy  I  have 
seen.  Liston  is  an  excellent  comic  performer. 

9.1st  October.— Called  at  Sir  Samuel  Shepherd's  1  with  a 
letter  to  him  from  Miss  Russell,  and  to  Lady  Shepherd  from 
Mrs.  Lowen.  Sir  Samuel  had  that  moment  returned  to  town 
from  his  annual  excursion  to  the  country.  He  was  dressing, 
and  in  his  flannel  jacket,  but  desired  to  see  me  without  cere- 
mony, and  gave  me  a  most  hearty  kind  reception.  He  said  he 
promised  himself  the  pleasure  of  seeing  me  at  his  own  house 
very  often. 

.  .  .  John  Kemble  having  returned  to  town,  I  felt  great 
anxiety  to  hear  him,  his  name  being  familiar  to  me  from  my 
infancy.  I  went  with  Towers  Boulton  to  hear  him  in  "  Corio- 
lanus."  His  figure  and  face  and  his  action  became  the  character 
admirably,  but  his  hollow  voice  and  short  breath  are  painfully 
unpleasant. 

Sometimes  he  utters  a  commonplace  sentence,  such  as  "  How 
are  you  ?  "  or  "  I  hear  you,""  with  such  a  misplaced  vehemence 
of  voice  and  extravagant  action  that  it  is  quite  ridiculous. 

SQth  October. — I  called  to-day  about  twelve  on  Sir  Samuel 
Shepherd  to  mention  to  him  my  intention  to  enter  myself  of 
one  of  the  law  societies,  and  my  view  in  doing  so  ;  and  also  to 
learn  his  opinion  as  to  the  probability  of  my  obtaining  leave 
of  absence.  .  .  . 

He  was  just  going  into  the  country,  but,  with  the  greatest 
friendship  and  politeness,  entered  into  the  fullest  consideration 
of  the  subject  with  all  the  anxious  interest  of  an  old  friend  or 
relation. 

The  result  is  that,  by  his  advice,  I  will,  at  all  events,  enter 
my  name  immediately,  that  my  time  may  be  at  once  going  on, 
and  I  shall  have  gained  something,  if  I  have  at  last  to  return 
before  I  am  admitted.  I  bought  of  the  steward  a  book  of  the 
rules,  &c. 


The  Solicitor-General. 


iv         THE   COURTS,   WESTMINSTER        81 

3rd  November. — Called  at  the  Solicitor-General's  office.  lie 
and  his  sons  are  my  referees,  and  the  Attorney-General  joins  in 
the  approval.  The  Solicitor-Genera]  and  Mr.  Kemble  are  my 
bondsmen  to  the  Society.  All  this  was  entirely  unsolicited, 
and  Sir  Samuel  was  pleased  to  say  that  it  was  no  more  than  I 
ras  entitled  to  expect  from  Sir  William  Garrow  }  ami  himself.  .  . 

.  .  .  Went  with  Charles  Murray  to  hear  the  Master  of  the 

11s,  Sir  William  Grant,  dispose  of  Chancery  petitions.  I 
was  much  gratified  and  pleased  that  I  had  gone.  He  says 
little  on  the  matters  brought  before  him,  but  decides  promptly, 
without,  however,  any  appearance  of  haste,  and  with  perfect 
composure  and  good  temper. 

Sir  Samuel  Komilly  is  a  very  different  man  from  the  idea  I 
had  conceived  of  him.  Exceedingly  plain,  open,  and  candid  in 
his  manner,  with  a  most  conciliatory  voice,  really  the  mosl  -o 
of  any  I  have  heard,  a  respectful  and  gentlemanlike  manner, 
though  warm  and  interesting  —  his  countenance  peculiarly 
engaging. 

6th  November. — At  twelve  went  to  Westminster  to  see  the 
Courts  open — the  first  day  of  term.  This  was  my  first  sight  of 
Westminster  Hall  or  any  of  its  Appendages,  The  Judges  had 
not  yet  arrived.  We  found  the  hall  full  of  gentlemen  and 
ladies  and  men  and  women  waiting  in  anxious  expectation  to 
see  the  Judges  and  Chancellors  pass  to  their  respective  Courts. 
The  young  lawyers,  with  their  wigs  and  gowns,  parading 
through  the  hall  with  a  lady  on  each  arm,  made  rather  a 
grotesque  appearance. 

Soon  the  Judges  came,  and  followed  each  other  into  their 
respective  Courts.  Sir  James  Mansfield,  the  present  Chief 
Justice  of  the  Common  Pleas,  is  very  aged,  and  his  whole 
frame  seems  to  be  fast  giving  way  to  infirmity.  lie  totters  in 
his  step  and  moves  feebly.  Some  years  ago  he  was  remarkable 
for  a  stern  firmness  of  manner. 

Finding  it  impossible  to  crowd  into  the  other  Courts,  we 
went  into  the  Exchequer,  where  I  saw  on  the  Bench  Chief 
Baron  Thomson,  Graham,  Kichards,  and  Wood.  The  Court 

*  The  Attorney-General. 


82     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

of  Exchequer  is  better  accommodated  than  the  others.  After 
the  Court  was  open,  a  man  made  a  great  noise,  addressing 
himself  to  the  Court,  and  saying  he  had  come  for  justice,  and 
talking  in  a  most  rude,  indecent  way.  The  Chief  Justice  told 
him  to  be  silent,  but  he  paid  not  the  least  attention.  The 
officer  was  then  told  to  remove  him,  and  the  order  was  repeated, 
I  daresay  ten  times.  The  officer  seemed  very  irresolute. 

The  man  did  everything  but  strike  the  keeper,  and  con- 
tinued to  reflect  upon  the  Court.  He  was  at  last  got  out,  but 
was  not  confined. 

I  scarcely  could  believe  I  was  in  an  English  court  of  justice 
and  in  the  presence  of  four  Barons  of  the  Exchequer. 

From  hence  we  repaired  for  a  short  time  to  the  Chancery 
Court,  where  the  Lord  Chancellor1  was  sitting  on  a  seat 
elevated  far  above  the  Bar,  and  apparently,  like  his  namesake 
in  Upper  Canada,  quite  unconscious  of  what  the  Councillor,  Mr. 
Bell,  was  striving  to  enforce  with  all  his  Yorkshire  eloquence. 

8th  November. — Went  into  two  or  three  bookstalls.  The 
vanity  and  importance  of  one  old  man  amused  me  much.  In 
a  dark,  dirty  room  in  Chancery  Lane,  he  stood  surrounded  by 
old  moth-eaten,  dog-eared  editions  of  Greek  and  Latin  classics, 
fathers,  and  authors  of  the  Middle  Ages. 

"  Sir,"  said  he,  putting  up  his  spectacles,  and  looking 
round  his  shop,  "  this  I  call  bookselling,  and  I  call  myself  a 
bookseller.  Sir,  I  don't  call  those  men  who  sell  modern  pub- 
lications booksellers :  I  call  them  haberdashers,  pins  and  needle 
men.  They  sell  books,  sir,  as  they  sell  tape.  They  require  no 
learning.  If  you  asked  them  for  a  Puffendorf,  or  a  Claudian, 
or  an  Herodotus,  they  wouldn't  know  what  you  were  talking 
about/1 

9th  November. — Mr.  Ridout  had  asked  me  to  come  to  his 
house  on  Lord  Mayor's  day  to  see  the  procession,  so  on  our 
return  I  took  Pearson  with  me,  and  we  went  there  about  half- 
past  three. 

His  house  is  No.  4  Crescent,  New  Bridge  Street,  and  is  the 
best  place  to  see  the  procession  from,  as  the  Lord  Mayor  and 

1  Sir  John  Scott,  afterwards  Earl  of  Eldon,  born  1751,  died  1838. 


iv    LINCOLN'S  INN— COVENT  GARDEN    83 

all  leave  the  water  at  Blackfriars  Bridge,  and  getting  into 
their  carriages  pass  tip  Bridge  Street  to  Guildhall  From  the 
upstairs  window  we  had  a  most:  distinct  view.  The  crowd  wa^ 
immense:  carriages  without  end.  The  procession  itself 
little  worth  seeing :  the  mob  spoiled  all.  There  was  no  order,1 
no  previous  arrangement.  Coal  waggons,  hackney  coaches,  \-c.. 
blocked  up  the  street.  There  were  several  dragoons,  wearing 
helmets  and  cuirasses  taken  from  the  French  at  Waterloo,  and 
some  complete  suits  of  armour,  one  of  brass  and  three  of  steel. 

l:W/  Xoirmbcr. — I  attended  the  Court  of  King's  Bench,  and 
heard  an  argument  between  Mr.  Park  and  Mr.  Garrow.  Lord 
Ellenborough  has  a  dry,  original  manner  with  him — something 
sarcastic. 

I  dined  at  Lincoln's  Inn  Hall  to-day  with  C.  Murray  for 
the  first  time.  There  were  about  100  dining.  The  dinner 
i  boiled  leg  of  pork  on  a  pewter  dish,  and  a  second  course 
of  roast  fowl;  beer  in  white  earthen  pint  mugs.  The  moment 
thev  swallow  their  dinner,  they  disperse.  I  was  much  amused 
at  some  of  the  young  men's  want  of  patience.  One  of  them 
having  vociferated,  "Waiter,  send  us  a  mess,"  very  often 
without  effect,  verv  pompously  calls  out,  "Wraiter,  send  Mr. 
('olden  here.  Do  you  hoar,  send  Mr.  Colden  here?"  "Mr. 
Coldeifs  dead,  sir!"  This  stopped  the  young  gentleman  for 
some  time. 

In  the  evening  went  to  Covent  Garden  to  hear  Miss  Stevens 
sing  in  the  "Beggar's  Opera,"  and  Mr.  Matthews,  the  cele- 
brated comic  performer,  in  "  Love,  Law,  and  Physic. "  I  was 
much  pleased  with  Miss  Stevens  and  with  Sinclair — I  mean 
his  singing,  for  he  is  nothing  remarkable  as  an  actor. 

Liston,  as  Lubin  Log,  the  citizen  from  Tooley  Street,  is 
the  most  perfect  picture  of  ignorant  vulgarity  that  can  be 
conceived. 

Matthews'*  comic  song,  "The  Stage,"  makes  one  die  almost 
of  laughing. 

14;th  November. — I  went  to  the  Common  Pleas,  and  heard 
some  lengthy  arguments  from  Serjeants  Best,  Vaughan,  and 

1  London  had  then  no  police  force  as  at  present. 


84     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Copley.1      Sir  V.   Gibbs  is  a  man  of  penetrating  mind  and 
clear  understanding. 

The  following  entry  gives  his  first  meeting  with 
my  mother: — 

16^  November. — Walked  up  to  Gower  Street.  Left  my 
card  at  Franklin's,  and  called  at  Mr.  Merry's.  Mrs.  Merry 
was  very  good  and  very  kind,  and  there  was  an  exceedingly 
fine,  pretty  little  girl — a  Miss  Walker — there;  very  pleasing 
and  engaging  in  her  manner  and  appearance. 

19th  November  (Sunday). — Henry  Boulton,  C.  K.  Murray, 
and  I  went  to  church  at  Whitehall  Chapel.  We  were  stopped 
by  the  sentry  at  the  door  on  account  of  our  coloured  neck- 
cloths, and  went  home  and  changed  them.  When  in  church, 
we  found  no  place  open  to  receive  us,  and,  after  looking  about 
for  some  time,  walked  up  to  the  sexton,  who  was  standing 
behind  the  pulpit,  and  told  him  we  wanted  a  seat.  He 
whispered,  "The  seats  are  my  living,  gentlemen !" — a  hint 
which  could  not  easily  be  mistaken.  I  gave  him  a  shilling, 
and  we  were  shown  into  a  pew.  In  this  chapel  are  hung  up 
around  the  walls  the  trophies  of  modern  victories, — French 
flags  and  French  eagles :  the  latter  are  gilt  or,  perhaps,  gold, 
about  five  inches  in  height,  perched  on  black  staves  of  about 
six  feet  long.  Several  of  the  flags  were  much  torn  and 
blown  to  pieces  with  powder,  &c.  They  were  the  fruit  of 
our  victorious  arms  at  Saragossa,  Madrid,  Salamanca,  Badajoz, 
Vittoria,  Gaudaloupe,  Martinique,  &c.2 

Here,  too,  on  the  west  side  .  .  . 

Here  follows  the  description  of  the  Colours  taken 
on  the  Canadian  frontier  in  the  war  with  America  of 
1812-14,  already  given  in  Chapter  II. : — 

%5th  November. — According  to  arrangement  with  Mr.  Samuel 
Foster,  I  walked  down  to  the  Bolt-in-Tun,  Fleet  Street,  and 

1  Afterwards  Lord  Chancellor  Lyndhurst. 

2  All  these  were  in  1835  removed  to  the  Royal  Hospital,  Chelsea.     The 
Eagles  are  of  metal  (probably  gun-metal),  gilt." 


iv   CHAPEL  ROYAL— LAW  COURTS   85 

took  the  Sevenoaks  coach  to  Southern!.  I  remained  at  Mr. 
•r's  until  Monday,  and  was  treated  with  the  utmost 
kindness  by  the  whole  family. 

Mrs.  Foster  I  looked  at  with  astonishment.  I  could  hardly 
believe  her  the  mother  of  twenty  children,  fourteen  now  living. 
She  looks  young,  rosy,  and  active.  They  had  at  home  Samuel 
(the  Attorney),  Captain  Tom  Foster  of  the  Navy,  Lieutenant 
Ilenrv  Foster  of  the  Horse  Artillery,  and  Kdward  in  the  mer- 
cantile line.  Two  young  ladies,  Caroline  and  Mary,  and  the 
youngest  chikl,  Arabella,  about  eight. 

Henry  was  wounded  at  Waterloo  with  a  grape-shot  in  the 
foot.  I  saw  the  shot:  it  remained  nine  days  buried  in  his  heel. 

.   .   .  Thev  seem  a  most  happy  family. 

Z~th  November. — In  the  evening  I  walked  out  to  see  the 
illuminations  for  the  Peace,  signed  on  November  20,  LSI. "3. 

.  .  .  The  olive  branches,  laurel  lea-.  were  beauti- 

fully represented  by  the  different  coloured  lamps.  The  crowd 
of  spectators  was  very  great.  It  was  to  me  a  novel  and 
striking  sight. 

5th  December. — Went  to-day  to  Westminster  Hall. 

In  an  action  for  trespass  I  was  shocked  to  see  the  gross 
prevarication  of  three  successive  iritneneB.  It  exceeded  any 
similar  exhibition  I  have  seen  in  Canada,  where  we  have  rascals 
enough,  and  sad  ones. 

I  attribute  it,  in  great  measure,  to  the  manner  in  which 
causes  are  tried  and  witne^es  examined  here.  The  style  is  to 
browbeat  and  insult,  and  uniformly  to  question  the  witnesses' 
wracity,  without  respect  to  his  feelings. 

Garrow's  manner  of  examining  a  witness  serves  to  confound 
a  rascal,  and  often,  I  fear,  to  perplex  an  honest  man.  I  wonder 
the  abuse  is  tolerated  by  a  grave  Chief  Justice  on  the  Bench  to 
the  extent  it  goes. 

The  first  witness  having  delivered  his  evidence,  Mr.  Garrow 
rose  to  cross-examine  him. 

"  Well,  sir,  you  say,  when  this  disturbance  began,  you  were 
in  the  room  in  plaintiff's  house,  writing.  I  suppose  you  were 
doing  business  for  him.  You're  a  lawyer,  I  take  it,  from  your 
eloquence  ?  " 


86     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Witness.  "  Sir,  I'm  an  Englishman,  and  every  Englishman 
is  supposed  to  understand  the  law  of  his  country.  .  .  ."  (A 
loud  laugh,  rather  against  the  Attorney-General.)  He  was 
going  on 

Lord  Ettenborough.  "  Ah !  stop  there.  YouVe  said  very 
well.  You'd  better  not  spoil  it  by  saying  more." 

Mr.  Garrow.  "  Pray,  sir,  may  I  ask  you  what  employment  ?  " 

Witness.  "  Sir,  I'm  a  tailor." 

Mr.  Garrow.  "  A  tailor  !  Ah  !  So,  then,  when  you  told  us 
you  were  an  Englishman,  we  are  to  take  it  with  some  allow- 
ance. You  mean  you  are  as  much  of  an  Englishman  as  a 
tailor  can  be  supposed  to  be.  We  know  what  proportion  that 
is.  ...  My  valuable  tailor,  do  give  us  a  yard  or  two  of  truth. 
Don't  give  us  so  much  cabbage,"  &c.,  and  a  deal  of  such  un- 
becoming trash. 

One  witness,  describing  his  position  at  the  time  of  the  fray, 
said,  "  He  sat  with  his  back  facing  the  door." 

My  good  landlady  got  to-day  some  of  Buonaparte's  hair, 
which  she  showed  me.  It  came  enclosed  in  a  letter  to  Mr. 
Finlayson  from  the  surgeon  who  accompanied  Buonaparte  to 
St.  Helena,  by  the  Redpole,  just  arrived  from  thence.  I  am  to 
have  some,  though  there  is  but  little ;  and  considering  the  un- 
doubted fact  of  its  being  really  the  great  little  man's,  it  is 
quite  a  curiosity. 

12th  December. — Spent  the  evening  in  Somerset  Place  at 
Mrs.  Hesse's.  There  was  a  large  party,  from  twenty  to  thirty 
ladies,  mostly  old  dames.  A  loo  table  was  formed,  of  which 
party  I  made  one,  and  had  the  pleasure  of  losing  about  15s. 
The  itch  for  gambling — making  money  at  cards — which  is  very 
observable  at  these  parties,  surprised  me.  Really  they  seem  to 
think  amusement  by  no  means  the  object,  and  are  as  sharp 
as  cats. 

1.6th  .December. — Went  to  Woolwich  to  pay  a  visit  to 
Colonel  Pilkington,1  commanding  the  Engineers  there,  who 
received  me  very  cordially. 

1  Colonel  Pilkiugton,  R.E.,  who  had  served  in  Canada  during-  the  war 
of  1812-15. 


iv  CARD   PARTIES—  OXFORD  S7 


The  evening  w:is  pas^-d  very  pie  :is?mtly,  and  the  Colonel 
and  I  sit  up  till  one,  talking  of  Canadian  people  and  Canadian 
concerns  lie  was  in  Canada  in  179-'},  and  really  looks  wonder- 
11  v  voting  for  a  man  who  talks  of  Niagara  and  York  before 
they  knew  what  a  house  was. 

Henry  John  Boulton,  then  at  Oxford,  who  was 
to  drive  a  friend's  tandem  back  to  Oxford  from 
London,  took  him  with  him,  and  they  set  off  at 

1)    A.M. 

ISM  Ih-cemhcr.  —  Oxford  is  a  delightful  place  taken  alto- 
gether. The  High  Street  affords  several  interesting  views  of 
Colleges  venerable  from  age  and  captivating  from  the  associa- 
tion of  ideas.  Everything  you  ves  additional  interest 

from  the  impression  constantly  on  your  mind  that  you  are  now 
in  that  quiet  seat  of  learning  and  surrounded  by  those  walls 
which  for  centuries  have  sent  forth  men  most  eminent  in  every 
important  walk  of  life.  .  .  . 

\Ve  drove  in  a  gig  to  Woodstock  ;  I  was  delighted  with 
Blenheim.  As  we  could  not  be  admitted  to  the  house  till 
i  hrt  v,  we  walked  over  the  park  till  that  hour  came.  It  is  eleven 
miles  round.  The  lake  abounds  with  waterfowl,  and  the  park 
is  alive  with  deer.  We  suddenly  encountered  the  old  Duke 
himself  (now  seventy-seven  years  old),  whom  this  fine  day  had 
tempted  to  try  the  sports  of  the  field.  He  was  in  a  little 
carriage,  like  a  child's  coach,  drawn  by  a  donkey,  and  was 
attended  by  a  number  of  servants.  AVhen  the  dogs  pointed, 
the  gun  was  put  into  his  hand,  and  he  pointed  it,  but  the  game 
always  got  out  of  reach  before  he  made  up  his  mind  to  fire. 
The  gamekeeper  was  very  civil,  and  unlocked  a  gate  for  us. 

From  Oxford  he  returned  by  coach  to  London, 
passing  through  Slough  — 

Where  the  first  person  I  met  was  Donald  Macdonell.  He 
had  just  got  out  of  the  Bath  coach,  and  was  on  his  way  from 
Hungerford  to  Windsor.  What,  I  wonder,  are  the  chances 
that  in  a  kingdom  of  about  twelve  million  population,  with 
crowds  of  coaches  constantly  traversing  the  same  road,  two 


88     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

individuals  who  had  gone  to  school  together  about  4000  miles 
off  should  meet  at  a  little  village  where  they  were  neither  to 
stop  more  than  a  few  minutes. 

He  has  a  commission  in  the  99th  Regiment.  On  my  return, 
found  a  most  friendly  letter  from  General  Sheaffe,  and  a  kind 
note  from  Colonel  Pilkington  asking  me  to  spend  Christmas 
with  them. 

Christmas  Day. — Went  to  Church  at  the  Foundling,  and 
afterwards  to  Woolwich  (to  Colonel  Pilkington). 

9,8th  December. — Dined  with  Hullock,  and  found  a  large 
party.  One  of  them  asked  me  if  we  drove  reindeer  in  our 
sledges  in  Canada ! 

5th  January  1816. — Dined  at  the  Merry s\  and  accompanied 
them  to  Mrs.  Hincks"*,  a  relation  of  the  Robinsons,1  who 
received  me  very  cordially.  There  was  a  large  party.  I  first 
saw  here  a  specimen  of  the  present  English  fashionable  parties. 

The  gentlemen  drop  in,  ad  libitum.,  with  their  hat  in  their 
hand,  or  under  their  arm,  as  if  they  should  say,  "  I  am  all  ready 
to  go  off  if  I  don't  like  you,"  and  their  behaviour  speaks  this 
exactly.  They  saunter,  snuff,  and  stare  about  as  if  they  were 
all  strangers  to  one  another,  look  at  the  ladies'  dresses,  and 
when  they  have  satisfied  their  curiosity,  make  a  bow  and  go  out 
again.  The  tone  seems  to  be  a  striking  and  laboured  affectation 
of  indifference  to  everything.  We  came  home  about  twelve. 

Sir  Frederick  Robinson  had  now  arrived  in 
England  from  Canada,  having  been  brought  over 
in  connection  with  the  court-martial  ordered  upon 
Sir  George  Prevost,  which  in  the  end,  owing  to  the 
latter's  death,  never  took  place. 

We  give  below  two  letters  he  wrote  after  his 
arrival  in  England  to  my  father : — 

THORNBURY,  NEAR  BRISTOL, 

±th  January  1816. 

DEAR  ROBINSON, — .  .  .  I  am  most  exceedingly  happy  to  have 
found  you  out,  and  hope  to  have  the  pleasure  of  introducing 

1  Sir  Frederick  Robinson's  family. 


:: 


iv  SIR   F.   ROBINSON  89 

ou  to  some  more  Robinsons  ere  we  quit  this  country.  Mv 
mother  and  sisters  arc-  anxious  to  see  you.  The  former,  though 
in  her  eighty-ninth  year,  is  in  high  health  and  spirits,  and  the 
latter  are  now  pretty  well.  It  gives  me  much  pleasure  to  find 
you  deri\  tion  from  my  friend  Merry's  attention.  .  .  . 

.  .  .  Do  not  mention  my  address  to  any  one,  as  I  am  living 
this   retired   place  to  be  out  of  the  way  of  every  one  and 
everything  relating  to  the  court-martial  until  the  time  of  trial. 
— Believe  me,  very  truly  yours, 

F.  P. 

J.  B.  ROHINSOV,  Ks. i.,;}()  Craven  Street.  Strand. 

TiioKxiu-iiY,  Ill/A  Jmiiiimi 

MY   DKAH   Roiiixsox, — Your  father  was  as  intimate  in  my 
ither's  house  as  I   was,  and  my  mother  ami  sish-rs  not  only 

)llect  him  with  pleasure,  but  would  he  mo>t  happy  to  renew 
the  acquaintance,  and  cement  the  relationship  in  the  son,  but  it 
will  not  fall  to  my  lot  to  introduce  you  to  them,  as  I  have 
obtained  permission  to  return  to  Fpper  Canada  as  soon  as  I 
please,  in  consequence  of  the  death  of  Sir  George  Prevost.  I 
shall  avail  myself  of  it,  and  go  by  the  very  first  opportunity 
that  offers,  whenever  that  may  be. 

I  think  the  Governor  has  done  a  wise  thing  in  introducing 
Strachan  into  the  Executive  Council.  I  consider  him  both 
zealous,  and  capable  of  all  that  may  be  required  of  him.  My 
idea  is  that,  if  it  is  the  intention  of  Ministers  to  preserve  Upper 
Canada,  they  must  make  a  military  post  of  York,  and,  in  that 

.  the  seat  of  Government  need  not  be  removed.  The  fact 
is.  more  money  has  been  thrown  away  upon  useless  fortifications 
than  would  have  served  to  have  made  the  place  impregnable 
had  the  works  been  properly  situated.  As  it  is,  they  might  as 
well  be  at  Albany. — Faithfully  yours, 

F.  P.  Romxsox. 

Sir  Frederick's  mother  (Susannah  Philipse),  born 
in  1727,  married  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson,  1747. 
and  died  at  Thornbury,  near  Bath,  in  1822,  in  her 
ninety-sixth  year. 


90     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

It  seems  to  bring  the  colonial  days  of  Virginia 
closer  to  our  own  times  that,  while  she  might  well 
have  been  acquainted  with  some  who  had  known 
Christopher  Robinson,  who  died  in  1693  and  was  the 
first  of  the  family  to  emigrate  to  Virginia,  the  widow 
of  her  grandson,1  who  was  sixteen  years  old  at 
Susannah  Robinson's  death,  is  still  (1903)  living  at 
Frenchay,  not  far  from  Thornbury,  in  her  ninety- 
seventh  year. 

One  can  hardly  realise  that  it  is  possible  that  one 
now  living  could  have  known  another  who  was  fifty- 
seven  years  old  when  (in  1784)  the  United  Empire 
Loyalists  settled  in  Upper  Canada. 

The  question  of  the  removal  of  the  seat  of 
Government  of  Upper  Canada  from  York  (Toronto) 
to  Kingston,  alluded  to  above  in  Sir  Frederick's  last 
letter,  was  about  this  time  exciting  much  interest  in 
Canada.  Dr.  Strachan,  who  was  now  a  member  of 
the  Executive  Council,  wrote  strongly  to  my  father, 
begging  him  to  do  what  he  could  to  prevent  the  step 
being  carried  out,  and  the  latter  subsequently  em- 
bodied his  own  views  and  those  of  Dr.  Strachan  in  a 
memorandum  addressed  to  Lord  Bathurst,  Secretary 
of  State  for  the  Colonies,  from  which  we  give  the 
following  extracts : — 

~\  5th  February  1816. 

...  It  is  urged  that  York  is,  in  its  situation,  incapable 
of  defence,  while  Kingston  is  naturally  strong,  and  has  been 
besides  well  fortified,  and,  being  our  principal  naval  and 

1  Colonel  \V.  H.  Robinson,  72nd  Highlanders.  Several  of  this  family 
attained  a  great  age.  Mrs.  Beverley  Robinson's  sister  Mary  (Mrs.  Roger 
Morris)  died  in  her  ninety-sixth  year  ;  Sir  Frederick  Robinson  in  his 
eighty-ninth  ;  and  his  daughter,  Maria  (Mrs.  Hamilton  Hamilton,,  whom 
I  knew  well),  in  her  ninetieth  (in  1884).  She  remembered  her  grand- 
mother, Mrs.  Beverley  Robinson,  perfectly. 


iv  SEAT  OF  GOVERNMENT  91 


i. 


military  post,  will  be  best  protected  of  any  place  in  Canada 
during  a  \vur. 

liven  looking  closely  at  this  ground  there  is,  I  submit,  my 
nl,  room  for  much  doubt.     While  we  retain  the  superiority 
on  Lake  Ontario,  no  town  in  Canada  is  so  perfectly  seci:r 
York,  because  no  hostile  army  can  reach  it  by  land  without 
t  forcing  our  frontier  at  Kingston,  Niagara,  or  Sandwich, 
d  marching  in  either  case  through  a  great  extent  of  populous 
untry;  and  hence  York,  in  any  event  during  a  great  part  of 
year,  while  the  navigation   is   obstructed    by  the  ice,  is 
removed   from   all   danger.      In   neither  case  has   it  anything 
to  Apprehend,  but  from   a  regular,  OfgAlliaed   army. 

Kingston,  on  the  other  hand,  enjoys  no  such  security,  but 
s  liable  to  the  invasion  of  an  overwhelming  force. 

The  possession  by  us  of  Lake  Ontario,  which  secures  York, 
forms  no  obstacle  to  such  an  invasion,  because  the  Americans 
could  cross  in  boats  over  the  river  St.  Lawrence,  and  the 
\\  inter,  which  puts  the  former  out  of  their  reach,  gives  them 
an  easier  entrance  into  the  latter. 

Besides,  York,  in  the  opinion  of  many  military  men,  is  very 
capable  of  defence,  and  its  weakness  is  said  to  be  owing  to  the 
injudicious  position  of  the  works  constructed,  not  to  its  natural 
incapacity  of  being  defended. 

Moreover  as,  if  we  are  superior  on  the  Lake,  York  is 
entirely  secure,  so  if  we  are  worsted  there,  York  must  be 
kept,  because  all  supplies  for  the  Niagara  frontier,  and  the 
country  north  and  west  of  it,  must  pass  through  it.  So  it 
must  stand  or  fall  with  the  province  or,  at  least,  with  far 
the  more  valuable  and  extensive  part  of  it. 

If  it  be  determined  that  York  is  neither  sufficiently  secure, 
nor  to  be  made  so,  and  that  the  seat  of  Government  must  on 
that  account  be  changed,  ought  it  not  to  be  removed  to  some 
place  where,  while  it  preserved  the  advantage  of  a  central 
situation,  it  would  be  out  of  the  line  of  all  military  o; 
tions,1  and  unquestionably  secure  while  the  province  was  ours 
— for  example,  on  the  shore  of  Lake  S.mcoe,  or  on  some  point 

1  The  Dominion  seat  of  Government  has  since  been  moved  to  such  a 
position — viz.,  Ottawa. 


92     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

of  the  backwater  communication,  where  no  army  could  reach 
it  that  had  not  overcome  all  the  obstacles  the  frontier  would 
present,  and  where  no  army  would  think  of  going  until  every 
military  object  was  achieved. 

I  beg  to  assure  your  Lordship  that  nothing  but  a  strong 
impression,  erroneous  though  it  may  be,  that  on  grounds  of 
public  expediency  the  measure  is  imprudent,  would  have 
tempted  me  to  intrude  upon  your  Lordship's  time  and 
attention. 

About  this  time  Dr.  Strachan  evidently  began 
to  lean  to  the  idea  that  it  might  be  to  my  father's 
advantage  and  interest  to  remain  in  England,  and 
push  his  career  there. 

On  the  29th  February  1816  he  wrote  to  him  from 
Canada  as  follows : — 

...  I  am  pleased  to  find  that  your  reception  is  so  good 
from  the  Crown  lawyers.  It  does  them  honour.  Unless  you 
have  set  your  heart  upon  spending  your  days  in  this  country, 
I  rather  think  that  prospects  might  be  made  to  open  upon 
you  in  London  by  the  time  you  can  profit  by  them,  but  I  must 
leave  you  to  yourself  in  this  matter. — Your  best  friend, 

JOHN  STRACHAN. 

And  on  the  7th  May  1816  he  addressed  him  the 
following  interesting  letter : — 

...  If  you  see  your  way  clearly,  you  must  try  your  fortune 
at  the  English  Bar.  You  must  remember  that  I  mentioned 
the  probability  of  your  becoming  attached  to  England.  From 
your  knowledge  of  men  and  manners,  and  the  part  you  have 
been  forced  to  perform,  and  likewise  your  education,  your 
acquirements  are  greater  and  more  practically  useful  than 
those  of  some  of  the  most  eminent  barristers.  They  have 
made  greater  progress  in  the  study  of  mere  law;  but  that 
knowledge  has  not  been  enlivened  by  its  application  to  actual 
characters. 


IV 


ENGLISH   BAR   SUGGESTED  '.»:* 


If  you  attach  those  friends  to  you  whom   you   have   made, 
of  which  I  h;ive  very  little  douht,  it  will  be  easy  for  them  to 
ring  you  out,  and   the   publication  of  the  State  trials   : 
th  the  Solicitor-General*!   rrrixion  of  them,  if  he  will   take 
e  trouble,  mav  prove  of  much  advantage   to  you. 

This  is  a  point  on  which  you  must  deliberate  with  care,  as 
is  the  most  important  of  your  life.  If  you  resolve  to  remain, 
u  must  a! tend  to  economy  anil  avoid  all  encumbrances.  If 
it  be  objected  that  your  chance  is  precarious,  I  answer,  "Not 
so  much  .s.)  as  the  chance  of  anv  Englishman  of  your 
''You  have  been  better  introduced  already  than  a  Peer's  son 
could  expect.  You  have  talents:  you  have  industry.  The 
first  few  briefs  obtained,  vour  fortune  is  made.  As  to  your 
being  happier  here,  I  question  it.  \Ye  have  all  the  caballings 

and  heart-burningi  of  the  largest  Government!,  and  from  our 

limited  society,  they  poison  social  intercourse.  Not  so  at  home. 
Your  circle  is  large,  and  it  is  easv  to  avoid  those  whom  you  do 
not  wish  to  meet.  You  say,  -Had  Providence  ca>t  vour  lot 
in  England;"1  I  say,  your  chance  in  that  case  would  not  have 
been  half  so  good.  The  great  difficulty  of  young  men,  natives 
of  England,  of  the  first  talents,  is  to  get  acquainted.  This 
difficulty  you  have  surmounted. 

A  tempting  offer  will  be  made  you,  or  it  will  be  attempted 
— vi/.,  to  place  Mr.  Boulton  on  the  Bench  and  make  you 
Attorney-General.  Should  this  be  effected,  prudence  will  bid 
you  accept,  ambition  will  hesitate. 

Of  your  attachment  to  your  friends  and  relations  here,  I 
entertain  the  most  favourable  opinion  ;  but  we  must  separate 
in  our  progress  through  life,  and  we  must  separate  at  the  last. 

I  shall  be  pleased  with  what  you  decide;  but  I  wish  you  to 
adopt  the  old  plan.  Set  down  the  pros  and  cons  on  paper, 
and  be  governed  neither  by  prejudice  nor  feeling,  but  by  the 
strongest  rational  probabilities. 

(iod  bless  your  exertions,  and  whatever  may  befall  you,  so 
long  as  you  preserve  your  integrity,  you  will  always  find  the 
same  sincere  friend  in  JOHX  STU.U-IIA\. 

When,  a  few  months  later,  Dr.  Strachan  became 


<)4     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

aware  of  my  father's  approaching  marriage,  he  wrote 
to  him  as  follows,  and  no  doubt  in  his  heart  rather 
regretted  his  decision  not  to  remain  in  England  :— 

YORK,  30th  September  1816. 

...  I  can  now  solve  the  great  change  of  sentiment  which 
appeared  in  your  letter,  your  eloquent  description  of  the  diffi- 
culties you  would  have  had  to  surmount  in  coming  to  the  Bar 
in  England,  with  the  great  sacrifices  you  must  make,  &c.,  like- 
wise your  warm  eulogium  on  the  happiness  you  might  enjoy  in 
this  country. 

You  will  see  by  my  last  that  I  was  not  convinced,  but  I 
relinquished  the  argument. 

To  return  to  my  father's  Journal : — 

X* 

'12th  January  1816. — Accompanied  Mr.  Acheson  to-day  to 
the  Canada  Club  at  the  Freemasons1  Tavern,  and  had  a  seat  on 
the  President's  right — Mr.  Auldjo.  There  were  about  thirty 
present — Vice-President  Mr.  John  Forsyth,  Mr.  Robert  Dick- 
son,  Mr.  Ellis,  Mr.  Henderson,  Mr.  Logan,  Dr.  M'Kinnon,  Mr. 
Oviatt,  Mr.  Maitland,  Mr.  John  Blackwood,  Uniacke's  brother- 
in-law  from  Halifax,  Mr.  Angus  Shaw,  and  several  others 
whom  I  did  not  know.  Canadian  affairs  were  much  the  subject 
of  conversation,  and  Canadian  boat  songs  and  Indian  speeches 
from  Shaw  and  Dickson  formed  an  agreeable  part  of  the 
entertainment./ 

Dickson  and  I  were  conversing  on  the  subject  of  the  defence 
of  Mackinac  last  war,  when  he  asked  me  if  I  knew  Captain 
Robinson  who  was  up  there  when  the  Americans  blockaded  it, 
and  when  I  told  him  he  was  my  brother,  he  entertained  me 
with  the  most  unreserved  encomiums  of  him.1 

1  The  brother  alluded  to  was  Captain  Peter  Robinson,  who  has  before 
been  mentioned  as  having-  commanded  a  volunteer  rifle  company  at  the 
capture  of  Detroit  in  1812.  At  Michilimackinac  (or  Cf  Mackinac,"  as  it 
\vas  often  called),  an  important  post  on  the  Straits  between  Lakes  Huron 
and  Michigan,  which  the  Americans,  who  had  lost  it  in  1812,  made 
srvrrul  vain  efforts  to  retake  in  1814,  he  appears  to  have  been  active  in 
encouraging  the  defence.  He  made  his  way  out  of  Mackiuac,  through 
the  American  blockading  fleet,  in  August  1814.  All  efforts  to  reduce  the 
post  failed. 


iv        THEATRICAL   FUND   DINNER          itf 

30th  Jtiniiary.—To-d&y,  by  virtue  of  my  guinea  ticket,  I 
dined  at  the  great  Coven t  Garden  Theatrical  Fund  dinner  at 
the  Freemasons'  Tavern,  Great  (^ueen  Street.  Its  object  wa* 
to  form  a  provision  for  the  support  of  decayed  actors,  their 
willows,  and  children. 

The  first  actors  of  Covent  Garden  Theatre  acted  as  stewards, 
anil  having  dined  early  in  the  day,  occupied  themselves  in 
walking  up  and  down  with  their  rods,  attending  to  the  party, 
looking  after  the  waiters,  and  keeping  everything  in  order. 
They  were  Young,  Liston,  Charles  Kenihle,  Matthews.  Fawcett. 
Farley,  Con  way,  Taylor,  Abbot,  Pope,  Emery,  and  several 
others.  Matthews  and  Finery  sang  their  inimitable  comic 
songs. 

The  Duke  of  York  presided.  At  one  end  of  the  same  table 
the  Duke  of  Kent,  at  the  other  the  Duke  of  Sussex.  On  the 
jsidents  left  was  the  Lord  Mayor,  Lord  Yarmouth,  Lord  C. 
jymour,  and  some  distinguished  Members  of  Parliament.  On 
his  right,  Lord  Alvanley,  MacMahon,  private  secretary  to  the 
Prince  Regent,  Lord  Frskine,  a  son  of  PercivaPs,  Fitzroy  Stan- 
hope, and  several  others  whose  names  I  did  not  hear.  Mr. 
Brammel,  the  famous  blood,  who  said  on  one  occasion,  "  Damme, 
Til  cut  the  Prince,  and  bring  old  George  into  fashion  again," 
wa-  also  there — a  finicking-looking  buck  enough. 

It  was  a  singular  gratification  to  me  to  see  Lord  Erskine. 

I  was  much  pleased  with  the  personal  appearance  of  the 
three  dukes.  In  fact  they  were,  beyond  all  question,  the  three 
men  of  most  noble  appearance  at  the  table. 

The  Duke  of  Sussex  has  a  countenance  and  manner  very 
prepossessing,  full  of  benignity,  and  cheerful  and  lively  good 
humour.  The  Duke  of  Kent  looks  and  speaks  like  a  soldier ; 
the  Duke  of  York  is  a  fine  commanding  person,  and  has  more 
regular  symmetry  of  features  than  his  brothers,  but  no  parti- 
cular expression  that  pleases  or  strikes. 

The  Duke  of  York  made  a  short  speech  in  a  very  hesitating 
and  confused  manner. 

The  Duke  of  Kent's  address  was  well  conceived  and  dexter- 
ously managed,  and  had  really  a  great  effect.  I  was  the  more 
pleased  because  I  had  always  heard  the  Duke  of  Sussex  spoken 


96    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

of  as  the  orator,  and  that  the  Duke  of  Kent  was  not  at  all  his 
equal.  The  Duke  of  Sussex  soon  followed.  He  has  a  prepos- 
sessing face,  but  his  voice  is  weak.  He  began  very  quaintly, 
but  failed,  in  my  mind,  very  much.  His  language  was  very 
perplexed  and  involved.  He  was  much  applauded,  because 
he  said  some  things  well,  and  a  good  heart  showed  itself 
throughout. 

These  three  of  the  Royal  Family  are  popular,  and  it 
cannot  be  otherwise,  when  they  join  so  perfectly  heart  and 
hand  with  their  fellow-subjects  in  every  humane,  benevolent,  or 
useful  institution. 

The  total  amount  collected  at  this  dinner  was  a  little  over 
^650. 

S\st  January. — Called  at  Sir  Roger  Sheaffe's,  where  I  found 
Norton.  We  had  a  long  talk  about  Canadian  matters.  We 
talked  over  the  unfortunate  business  at  York,  which  he  seems 
to  like  to  dwell  upon. 

Derenzy  came  in ;  and  thus,  in  Craven  Street,  London,  were 
four  persons  l  met  together  who  had  all  been  in  the  Battle  of 
Queenston,  and  who  little  thought  at  that  time  of  seeing  one 
another  here. 

Dined  at  the  Merrys1  with  Mr.  Robert  Lukin  and  James 
Lukin,  Colonel  Drinkwater,  who  wrote  the  "  Siege  of  Gibraltar," 
and  several  others. 

9th  February. — Went  to  Hyde  Park  and  put  on  a  pair  of 
skates.  You  give  8s.  in  pledge  till  you  return  the  skates,  and 
Is.  per  hour  for  the  use  of  them. 

Wth  February. — Last  night  it  froze  more  severely,  people 
say  here,  than  has  been  known  for  many  years.  A  decanter  of 
water  and  a  tumbler  of  water  were  frozen  solid  in  my  bedroom. 

.  .  .  Not  a  bad  joke  of  Mr.  Justice  Grose,  who  on  circuit 
was  dozing  rather  whilst  the  list  of  the  jury  was  calling  over, 
and  John  Thomson  being  called  and  not  answering,  the  clerk 

1  Derenzy  was  a  captain  in  the  41st ;  Captain  Norton  commanded  the 
Indians,  and  Sir  Roger  Sheaffe  was  in  command  of  the  whole  British  force 
at  the  Battle  of  Queenston.  The  latter  also  commanded  when  York 
(Toronto)  was  taken  in  1813. 


an 
Ti 

til 


HOUSE   OF  LORDS  97 

peated  the  name.      Some  one   answered,  "  He's  dead,  sir." 
e  judge,  starting  up,  says,  "  There's  no  end  to  these  excuses ; 
fine  him  40s." 

Lord  Erskine  has  a  small  estate  near  London,  and  has  for 
me  time  past  been  employing  several  hands  in  making  and 
disposing   of  brooms   from    this   estate.      Last  week   he  was 
ually  summoned  before  a  bench  of  magistrates,  and  fined 
.  for  selling  brooms  without  taking   out   a   hawker's   and 
lurs  licence.     He  observed  to  their  Lordships  that,  if  the 
w  affected  him,  it  certainly  must  be  "a  sweeping  clause  in 
e  statute." 

There  are  ridiculous  caricatures  of  the  late  Chancellor 
selling  his  brooms  stuck  up  in  the  print-shops. 

19th  February. — By  an  introduction  of  Mr.  Finlayson,  I 
got  admission  without  a  Peer's  ticket  into  the  House  of  Lords, 
although  it  was  a  night  of  very  interesting  debate  upon  the 
treaties  and  our  connections  with  our  Allies;  in  fact,  upon 
r  present  political  situation.  I  went  at  six,  and  remained 
till  nearly  one  o'clock. 

Lord  Liverpool  opened  the  debate  with  a  long,  though 
clear,  able,  and  well-arranged  speech. 

His  manner  is  pleasing,  his  voice  harmonious,  and  action 
energetic. 

Lord  Grenville  (in  opposition)  followed  him  in  a  speech 
of  much  the  same  length. 

I  think  his  manner  carries  more  weight  than  Lord  Liver- 
poors.  It  is  more  grave,  manly,  and  dignified:  less  appearance 
of  art,  and  more  smooth  and  uninterrupted.  He  speaks  more 
like  one  in  earnest. 

They  were  the  first  specimens  of  speeches,  anything  in 
fact  like  orations,  that  I  have  heard.  They  were  such  as  to 
excite  admiration  of  the  talents,  knowledge,  and  eloquence  of 
the  speakers. 

Lord  Holland  (nephew  of  C.  J.  Fox)  supported  Lord 
Grenville  in  a  most  curious  speech  of  two  hours.  His  action 
was  violent  in  the  extreme.  He  screamed,  he  holloaed,  he 
choked  with  impetuosity  and  vehemence,  and  yet  was  not  in 
fact  angry.  In  short,  his  speech  was  an  unaccountable  medley, 

G 


98     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

and  though  he  said  many  good  things,  they  answered  no 
purpose,  as  neither  he  nor  the  House  could  see  precisely  to 
what  it  all  tended. 

Lord  Harrowby  supported  Lord  Liverpool  in  a  very  clear, 
able,  and  impressive  speech. 

6th  March.  —  At  three  I  went  to  the  House  of  Commons. 
The  debates  were  interesting:  on  the  subjects  of  the  Property 
Tax  and  the  Army  Estimates. 

The  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer  makes  a  poor  figure. 
Lord  Castlereagh  maintains  his  ground  exceedingly  well, 
always  cool,  and  never  to  be  irritated  by  the  most  vexatious 
attacks.  He  answers  all  objections  with  calmness  and  temper, 
and  with  much  humour  and  point. 

I  heard  also  Rose,  Brougham,  Lord  Milton,  Goulbourn, 
Wynne,  Fitzgerald,  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer  for  Ireland  ; 
and  George  Tierney,  an  original  fellow. 

\.4>th  April  (Sunday).  —  By  pressing  invitation  from  Mr. 
Adams  (W.  Dacres),  spent  the  day  with  him  at  his  house 
at  Sydenham.  I  took  a  horse,  and  after  service  rode  to 
Sydenham.  Mr.  Adams  has  a  beautiful  estate  of  150  acres 
under  good  cultivation,  and  the  grounds  about  his  house  are 
laid  out  with  great  taste. 


April.  —  After  breakfast,  I  left  Mr.  Adams,  and  re- 
turned to  town.  Henry  Boulton  and  I  dined  at  a  restaurateur's 
with  St.  George,  his  brother,  and  Lelievre,1  and  at  nine  young 
Acheson  called  for  us  to  take  us  to  the  Lord  Mayor's 
Easter  ball. 

The  crowd  was  insufferable  —  about  4000  people.  The 
ladies  were  very  seriously  alarmed  for  their  safety  on  account 
of  the  pressure  of  what  may  be  fairly  called  the  mob.  The 
Dukes  of  Kent  and  Sussex  and  the  Recorder  in  vain  harangued 
the  gentlemen  to  beg  them  to  keep  back.  With  the  greatest 
difficulty  room  was  kept  for  the  Duke  of  Sussex  and  a  lady  to 
dance  a  minuet. 

1  Probably  the  Quetton  St.  George  and  Captain  Lelievre  whose  names 
appear  as  subscribers  to  the  York  Assemblies  in  1814—  See  Appendix 
A.,  III.  Lelievre  was  a  captain  in  the  Royal  Newfoundland  Fencibles. 


L 

m 


MANSION-HOUSE    HALL  99 

The  whole   Mansion-I louse   was  swarming  with  grotesque 
itv  bucks  and  belles.      There  was  one  negro  gentleman,  several 
mulattos,  anil  a  Turk  or   Persian.     The   Eadv  Mayoress  cut  a 
queer  figure  with  her  hoops.  y  No  refreshment  of  any  kimi 
provided.      Almost  choked   with  heat  and   thirst,  Henry  and    I 
found  our  way  down   into  the   kite-hen,  where  we  found  a  civil 
gentleman  all  over  gold  lace,  who  was  willing  to  give  us  a 
of  water  for  a  trifle. 

We  left  the  jamming  and  squeezing  at  half-past  twelve. 


April — I  went  with  William  Merry  to  the  Fives  Court 
in  St.  Martin's  Lane  to  see  sparring  by  the  crack  hands 
of  the  day.  Crib,  the  champion  of  England  ;  .Richmond, 
the  black;  Belcher,  Oliver,  Eels,  Scroggins,  West  Country 
Dick,  *e. 

It  was  to  me  a  novel  scene,  purelv  English,  and  well  worth 
witnessing.  The  neatness  and  quickness  of  Belcher  are  quite 
astonishing.  Notwithstanding  their  gloves,  the  blows  coming 
with  such  force  sometimes  stagger  them,  and,  indeed,  thev  often 
knock  each  other  down;  but  no  serious  injury  is  done. 

The  spectators  are  a  strange  group  of  coachmen,  butchers, 
innkeepers,  and  gentlemen,  who  all  take  a  surprising  interest 
in  what  is  going  forward,  and  aflect  to  talk  in  the  genuine 
slang  style. 

°,  Wi  April. — There  was  a  regular  boxing  match  on  Molesey 
Heath,  near  Hampton  Court,  on  the  opposite  side  of  the 
Thames,  and  I  thought  it  a  duty  incumbent  on  me,  as  a 
stranger,  to  witness  this  exhibition,  so  purely  English,  which 
displays  national  manners  and  peculiarity  of  feeling  in  so 
striking  a  manner. 

So  Henry  and  I  took  a  gig  of  Ansel,  the  livery  stable  keeper. 
We  drove  through  Putney,  Richmond',  Twickenham,  and 
Bushey  Park.  Imagination  cannot  picture  a  more  delightful 
drive.  The  leaves  and  blossoms  were  just  beginning  to  expand, 
and  everything  breathed  of  spring. 

We  passed  crowds  of  citizens  on  foot,  in  carts,  on  horseback, 
in  gigs,  coaches,  &c.,  all  streaming  to  the  grand  ;rw/r;;z'o//.s. 
We  stopped  at  Mr.  Twining's  (at  Hampton),  an  acquaintance 


100    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

of  Henry's  and  old  friend  of  his  father's.  We  promised  to 
return  to  dine  with  him ;  crossed  the  Thames  on  a  crowded 
wherry,  and  had  to  wait  about  an  hour  or  more  before  the 
fight  began. 

It  was  on  a  level  green.  Carts  and  waggons  formed  a  circle 
of  about  150  yards  diameter  perhaps,  in  the  centre  of  which 
was  the  ring.  Two  shillings  was  given  for  a  standing  place  on 
a  waggon,  which  afforded  one  an  excellent  view.  The  mob 
were  all  driven  back  so  as  to  form  a  ring  immediately  inside 
the  circle  of  carriages,  and  we  looked  over  their  heads.  Numbers 
of  men  with  horsewhips  kept  the  multitude  in  order  by  frequent 
and  very  unceremonious  cuts  over  the  face,  back,  and  legs, 
which  were  all  suffered  patiently  and  without  a  murmur  or 
symptom  of  resistance.  Many  thousands  attended,  and  yet  by 
this  violent  and  rough  method  of  keeping  order,  all  confusion 
was  prevented,  and  every  one  had  a  good  view — but  Jonathan 
wouldn't  brook  this. 

The  great  fight  which  drew  the  public  together  was  between 
Carter,  a  celebrated  boxer,  and  a  black,  lately  from  Virginia, 
who  had  beaten  several  white  men  of  bruising  fame,  and 
boasted  himself  a  match  for  any  white  in  England.  He  was 
a  very  stout,  powerful  fellow,  but  Carter  beat  him  with  very 
little  trouble.  He  took  several  severe  rounds  first,  however. 

A  much  tighter  combat  next  took  place  between  Lancaster, 
a  known  pugilist,  and  a  coal-heaver.  They  were  both  men  of 
great  courage  and  obstinacy,  but  the  former  was  at  length 
beaten. 

Another  fight  succeeded,  not  so  well  contested,  and  then 
the  matter  ended,  and  the  cockneys,  carts,  gigs,  coaches,  &c., 
returned  to  town. 

We  walked  to  Hampton  Palace  and  viewed  the  gardens  and 
grounds,  which  are  beautiful,  though  too  flat. 

After  dinner  Mr.  Twining  took  me  over  Garrick's  grounds, 
which  are  really  exquisitely  pretty.  The  Thames  here  is  a  very 
beautiful  river.  The  grounds  are  diversified  by  artificial  hill 
and  dale,  and  planted  with  fine  trees.  They  are  now  large 
trees,  like  forest  trees,  and  yet  Mrs.  Garrick  says  she  remembers 
the  planting  of  every  one  of  them  except  one.  She  is  ninety- 


iv  LITERARY  FUND   DINNER         101 

two,  still  active  and  lively,  and  frequently  attends  Drury  Lane 
Theatre,  being  much  delighted  with  Ki-uifs  acting.1 

We  returned  to  town  by  nine,  and  had  a  very   pic 
drive. 

9,nd  May. — This  evening  at  ten  the  Princess  Charlotte  of 
Wales  was  married  to  the  Prince  of  Saxe-Coburg.  About  two, 
or  perhaps  earlier  in  the  day,  Pall  Mull  and  the  Park  were 
crowded  with  men  and  women  hoping  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  one 
or  both  of  the  Royal  parties.  When  I  returned  home  at  about 
eleven,  there  was  still  an  immense  crowd  in  Pall  Mall  before 
Carl  ton  House.  A  party  of  Life  Guards  were  on  duty.  I  was 
.standing  near  a  fine  young  man,  mounted  on  his  charger,  with 
his  beaver  and  Waterloo  medal,  when  a  bit  of  brick  thrown 
with  great  violence  from  the  crowd  struck  the  side  of  his  head, 
on  the  chains  that  pass  along  the  cheek.  He  showed  no 
symptom  of  resentment,  nor  even  changed  his  position,  though 
the  blow  might  have  ruined  his  eyesight.  Their  situation  on 
these  occasions  is  most  mortifying  to  brave  men. 

\Qth  May. — Dined  at  the  anniversary  dinner  of  the  Lite- 
rary Fund  for  the  support  of  poor  authors  at  the  Freemasons'" 
Tavern.  About  200  present.  The  Duke  of  Kent  was 
President. 

The  Bishop  of  Cloyne,  who  is  a  very  queer,  squinting  old 
gentleman,  made  a  short  speech,  in  which  the  most  striking 
remark  was  that  the  object  of  the  society  was  "  to  help  those 
men  of  ability  who  had  not  the  ability  to  help  themselves  " — 
sufficiently  quaint. 

The  most  original  amusement  of  the  evening  was  the  recita- 
tion by  William  Thomas  Fitzgerald  of  his  twentieth  Annual 
Ode.  This  is  the  poet  whose  style  is  parodied  in  the  "  Rejected 
Addresses."  The  ode  had  some  merit,  and  was  received  in  a 
very  flattering  manner.  I  had  some  conversation  with  him 
before  dinner. 


1  Mrs.  Garrick,  widow  of  Garrick,  the  celebrated  actor,  died  iu  1822, 
aged  ninety-eight. 


102    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Within  the  next  few  days  my  father  visited 
Windsor  and  Eton,  where  he  "  saw  a  great  number 
of  fine  little  fellows  busily  occupied  with  cricket." 


May.—  Went  to  the  Old  Bailey,  and,  by  the  Solicitor- 
Generars  introduction,  got  a  place  next  Mr.  Shelton,  the  Clerk 
of  Arraigns.  The  judges,  Bailey  and  Park,  were  there.  Soon 
after  I  received  a  note  from  Sir  James  Shaw,  on  the  Bench, 
requesting  my  company  to  dinner  at  five  with  the  judges  and 
magistrates.  We  had  an  excellent  dinner  in  the  Sessions 
House.  The  party  was  exceedingly  pleasant  and  convivial,  and 
without  restraint  or  reserve. 

Mr.  J.  Park  mentioned   an    Irish  bishop  who  married  at 
sixty,  and  lived  to  see  his  eldest  son  a  bishop. 


May.  —  This  evening  the  celebrated  Mrs.  Siddons,  who 
for  forty  years  has  reigned  undisputed  Queen  of  Tragedy,  acted 
Queen  Catherine  in  "  Henry  VIII."  for  the  benefit  of  her  brother, 
Charles  Kemble.  I  had  often  regretted  it  as  a  loss  I  was 
doomed  to  that  I  should  never  hear  Mrs.  Siddons,  who  several 
years  ago  took  a  formal  leave  of  the  stage. 

Mr.  W.  Dacres  Adams  was  so  kind  as  to  consider  me  in  his 
arrangements  for  the  evening. 

I  went  with  Adams,  Colonel  Adams  his  brother,  three  or 
four  ladies,  and  Campbell,  author  of  "  The  Pleasures  of  Hope  " 
and  "  Gertrude  of  Wyoming,"  —  a  particular  friend  of  the 
Adams's.  I  was  introduced  to  him,  and  we  had  a  great  deal 
of  conversation  during  the  evening. 

There  is  something  uneasy  and  fidgetty  in  his  manner  that 
you  would  not  expect  in  the  author  of  "  Erin-go-Bragh."  He 
has  a  fine  eye,  and  his  conversation  is  entertaining.  He  appears 
young  yet,  about  thirty-five  perhaps. 

In  the  box  next  us  was  Lord  Lynedoch,  also  Mr.  Matthews, 
author  of  "  Pursuits  of  Literature,"  and  in  another  Rogers,  the 
author  of  "  Pleasures  of  Memory."  The  house  was  crowded  in 
every  part. 

I  was  pleased  with  Mrs.  Siddons,  but  found  more  to  admire 
in  Kemble's  Wolsey  ;  some  passages  were  almost  overpowering. 


MRS.    SIDDOXS  103 


The  audience  would  not  for  a  long  time  suffer  the  tragedy 
to  proceed  beyond  the  end  of  the  fourth  act,  as  if,  after  Mrs. 
Siddous  in  that  last  affecting  scene,  nothing  would  be  tolerated. 

The  other  piece  was  "The  Prize,"  in  which  Liston  and 
Matthews  were  sufficiently  ridiculous. 

On  June  10th,  Colonel  Pilkington  kindly  sent  up 
his  servant  and  horses  to  London  for  him,  and  he 
rode  down  to  Woolwich  again  and  spent  a  day  or 
two  there. 

On  my  way  over  Blackheath,  I  passed  the  Blackheath 
pedestrian  Katon  walking  one  of  his  hourly  miles — part  of  his 
1100  to  be  performed  in  1100  hours — one  mile  each  hour. 
Monstrous  absurdity ! 


Between  this  and  the  end  of  July,  he  visited 
Norwich  to  see  my  mother's  relations  there,  the 
Booths  ;  and  also  paid  two  or  three  visits  to  Hastings, 
where  my  mother,  with  the  Merrys,  was  then  stay- 
ing, visiting  Bexhill,  Pevensey,  &c.;  and  on  the  1st 
August  returned  to  town  preparatory  to  setting  out 
upon  a  six  weeks'  tour  on  the  Continent. 

2/w/  August. — By  invitation  of  Mr.  Campbell,  I  dined  with 
him  at  his  house  at  Sydenham,  with  Mr.  Adams  and  Mr. 
Crauford.  Mrs.  Campbell  is  a  fine-looking  woman.  They 
have  one  son,  Thomas,  apparently  a  smart  ingenious  lad  ;  they 
lost  another  child.  Mr.  Campbell  was  born  in  1778;  his 
father  lived  to  a  great  age,  upwards  of  ninety.  We  spent  a  very 
pleasant  evening.  I  slept  at  Adams's  and  breakfasted  there. 

On  August  8,  1816,  he  set  off  by  coach  from 
London  for  Harwich. 

The  harbour  of  Harwich,  formed  by  the  mainland  on  which 
the  town  lies,  and  the  peninsula  on  which  Landguard  Fort 


104      SIR  JOHN   BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

stands,  very  much  resembles  the  Bay  of  York  1  in  Upper  Canada, 
the  fort  and  a  round  tower  being  placed  so  as  exactly  to  remind 
me  of  the  blockhouses  on  Gibraltar  Point.  After  dining  I  took 
a  packet  to  Ipswich  and  went  to  the  "  White  Hart "  Inn. 

6th  August. — Took  a  stroll  through  Ipswich. 

I  recollected  having  brought  over  with  me  a  letter  from 
Miss  Russell  to  a  Miss  Forth  of  Ipswich,  so,  all  in  my  travelling 
habit  as  I  was,  I  knocked  at  Miss  Forth's  door  in  the  church- 
yard of  St.  Mary's  Tower.  We  had  a  long  chat  about  Canada 
and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Russell.  Mr.  Russell's  father  was  clerk  of 
the  Cheque  in  Harwich,  and  died  there. 


T,ue  v_/neque    n  narwicn,  anu.  uieu  uiere. 

In  the  evening  he  returned,  by  post  chaise, 
Harwich. 


to 


Now  Toronto. 


CHAPTER  V 


TRAVELS  ON  THE  CONTINENT,  TO  THE  ENGLISH  LAK1 

AND  IN  SCOTLAND,  ETC. 

1816-17. 

Helvietsluys — Rotterdam — The  Hague — Canal  travelling — Leyden — Haar- 
lem— Amsterdam — Broek  (the  model  village) — Utrecht — Antwerp — 
Brussels— Waterloo— Paris— Louis  XVIII.—  The  Mat  de  Cor:, 
Count  <le  Chains— Talma— Chamber  of  I )eputies — St.  Germain— View 
from  t)u>  terrace --French  politeness — A  London  mob — Mr.  Adams - 
The  Reverend  George  Boulton — Coventry — Kenilworth,  &c. — Open- 
ing of  Parliament     Matlock     Yorkshire  scenery — Windennero  and 
the  English  Lakes — Falls  of  the  Clyde — Glasgow— Captain  Jarvie — 
Aberdeen — Mr.    Strarlian   -Mr.    Forsyth — Jeffrey — Captain   Barclay 
—Mr.  (Sir  Walter)  Scott  and  Abbotsford— Kelso— Alnwick. 

>N  August  7,  1816,  my  father  embarked  at  Harwich 
for  Helvietsluys,  and  travelled  thence  through  Hol- 
land, partly  by  canal,  to  Antwerp,  Brussels,  and  Paris, 
returning  to  London  on  15th  September. 

In  April  and  May  1817  he  visited  the  English 
Lakes  and  Scotland  ;  in  June  was  married  in  Lon- 
don ;  and  in  August  1817  he  and  my  mother  sailed 
for  Canada. 

In  the  early  part  of  last  century  but  few  travelled 
abroad,  either  from  England  or  Canada,  compared 
with  the  numbers  who  now  yearly  do  so  ;  and  the 
period  of  his  travels  was  rather  an  exceptional  one. 
Louis  XVIII.  had  been  recently  restored  (after 
Waterloo)  to  the  French  throne ;  and  the  spoils  of 
Napoleon's  wars  were  just  being  returned  from  Paris 
to  their  former  owners  in  Holland  and  elsewhere. 
Everything  he  saw  extremely  interested  him.  British 
troops  still  occupied  parts  of  France  ;  at  Valenciennes 
he  met  with  Major  Holcroft,  who  had  been  with  him 

105 


106    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

in  the  campaign  of  1812  in  Canada,  and  other  old 
friends  were  with  the  army  of  occupation. 

While,  therefore,  I  have  omitted  much  from  his 
Journal  which  is  merely  descriptive  of  cities,  towns, 
churches,  and  picture  galleries,  now  well  known, 
lying  as  they  do  in  the  beaten  track  of  everyday 
travel,  I  give  below  what  I  think  may  still  be  of 
interest. 

He  was  charmed  with  the  scenery  of  the  English 
Lakes,  and  delighted  with  his  trip  to  Scotland,  during 
which  he  paid  a  visit  to  Sir  Walter  (then  Mr.)  Scott 
at  Abbotsford. 

I  may  add,  too,  that  1  have  curtailed  these  ex- 
tracts the  less  because  travelling,  especially  at  the 
age  my  father  then  was,  is  a  part  of  education, 
opening  the  mind  and  enlarging  the  ideas. 

Nothing  can  convey  so  well  as  these  extracts 
themselves  what  he  saw  and  how  it  struck  him,  or 
indicate  better  his  observing  powers. 

I  now  continue  from  his  Journal : — 

1th  August  1816. — An  English  gentleman,1  6  feet  high, 
with  brown  surtout,  drab  breeches,  and  long  gaiters,  set  off 
with  me  from  Helvietsluys. 

"  I  see,  sir,  from  your  trunk,"  he  said,  "  that  you  are  from 
the  other  side  of  the  Atlantic.  Do  you  happen  to  know  a 
gentleman  there,  who  is  the  most  particular  friend  I  have  in 
the  world — Uniacke  ?  " 

"  Perfectly  well ;  we  travelled  once  together  from  Quebec 
to  York." 

This  introduced  us  to  each  other,  and  as  a  travelling  com- 
panion he  is  very  agreeable  and  very  well  informed. 

9th  August. — At  half-past  twelve  we  embarked  (from  Rot- 
terdam) for  Delft  on  our  way  to  the  Hague,  on  board  a 

1  Mr.  Latham,  who  travelled  with  him  afterwards  as  far  as  Brussels. 


,., 


HOLLAND— THE   HAGUE  107 

kshuvt   or  canal    boat.      These    are    the    most    convenient 
things,  and  the   whole  system  is  admirable. 

For  instance,  from    one   city   to  another,  these   trekshuyts 

il  most  punctually  at  their  stated  times,  every  half-hour,  or 
e\ery  two  hours,  £c.  Each  city  has  its  different  gates  tor  the 
different  departures,  as  the  Untrue  Gate,  the  Amsterdam  Gate, 
the  Utrecht  Gate.  At  the  inn  a  porter  attends,  whose  charge 

known  ;  he  takes  your  linkage  to  the  gate  you  set  out  from. 

d  you  follow  him.     AVithout  any  bustle  or  confusion  your 

ggage    is    put   on    board,   and   at    the    stated    minute    you 

t  off. 
The  trekshtivt  is  a  long  narrow  boat.     The  after  cabin  is 

ceedingly  comfortable.  It  holds  about  eight  passeng« 
hied  and  furnished  with  a  velvet  cushion  for  each  passenger, 
and  a  little  table  in  the  midst,  on  which  you  may  write.  There 
are  small  windows  which  open,  and  give  you  the  advantage  of 
air  and  prospect.  The  other  larger  cabin  is  very  clean,  but 
provided  only  with  long  benches.  It  holds  about  fortv  pas- 
•:-s,  who  pay  one  half  the  price  of  the  others.  The  top  of 
the  boat,  that  is,  the  roof  of  the  cabin,  is  neat  and  clean,  con- 
sisting of  broken  shells,  cemented  with  pitch.  In  fine  weather 
this  is  the  most  pleasant  berth.  One  miserable  horse,  harne.s>ed 
with  ropes  and  old  straps,  carries  along  all  this  equipment  pre- 
cisely at  three  and  a  half  miles  per  hour,  not  varying  a  minute. 
The  method  of  putting  letters  into  the  canal  boats  is  an 
ingenious  one.  A  little  boy  or  girl  waits  at  some  bridge  under 
which  the  boat  passes,  and  has,  in  his  or  her  hand,  a  hollow 
stick  with  a  plug.  He  puts  his  stivers  for  postage  into  the 
hollow  piece,  plugs  it  up,  and  drops  it  with  the  letter  attached 
to  it  into  the  boat.  The  boatman  takes  his  money  and  the 
letter,  and  throws  the  stick  ashore  to  the  boy,  who  is  running 
along  the  bank.  Parcels  are  handed  out  and  taken  on,  tolls 
paid,  \c.,  without  impeding  the  progress  of  the  trekshtivt. 

Arrived  at  the  Hague  at  five,  and  went  to  the  "Two  Cities,"" 
a  very  excellent  inn.  Here,  at  the  Hague,  we  saw  an  admir- 
able collection  of  French  paintings — the  restored  spoils  of  the 
Louvre.  They  are  not  yet  all  unpacked,  and  were  lying  mixed 
in  the  rooms.  The  famous  chef-d'oeuvre  of  Paul  Potter — the 


108    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

cattle   piece — is   perfect   nature.      No    words   can    do  justice 
to  it. 

By  a  little  address,  we  persuaded  the  old  man  who  was 
arranging  them  to  venture  into  a  room  he  was  afraid  to  show, 
and  containing  a  most  precious  collection  of  the  best.  Here 
we  saw  numbers  of  the  most  famous  paintings  of  Rubens, 
Vandyke,  and  the  best  Dutch  and  Flemish  artists.  How 
delighted  I  was  for  two  hours  !  Several  candle-light  scenes 
were  wonderfully  fine. 

10th  August. — At  half-past  twelve  we  embarked  in  a  trek- 
shuyt  for  Leyden  (9  miles). 

We  were  told  by  Messrs.  Campbell  and  Boyce  that  the 
banks  of  the  canal  from  Delft  to  the  Hague  were  the  most 
beautiful  part  of  Holland;  but  we  found,  as  everybody  must 
find,  that  they  bear  no  comparison  with  that  from  the  Hague 
to  Leyden.  Here  the  constant  succession  of  neat  and  indeed 
beautiful  villas  for  many  miles  forms  a  prospect  that  one  regrets 
seeing  but  to  leave. 

The  broad  street  of  Leyden,  called  the  Altenbourg,  is  justly 
celebrated  as  one  of  the  finest  things  of  the  kind  to  be  seen  in 
Europe.  As  a  street,  I  have  seen  nothing  that  can  compare 
with  it  except  the  High  Street  at  Oxford.  It  is  perhaps  double 
the  width  of  that  at  Oxford,  and  three  or  four  times  its  length, 
resembling  it  in  its  curvature,  and  thus  presenting  you  with  a 
number  of  striking  views.  .  .  . 

It  is  astonishing  how  they  preserve  everything  in  Holland 
by  their  extreme  cleanliness  and  care.  The  Dutch  have  a  great 
passion  for  dating  everything,  their  houses,  boats,  bridges, 
waggons,  gates,  &c.  All  the  cushions  in  the  Town  Hall,  for 
the  magistrates  to  sit  on,  were  dated — one  in  1732.  The  first 
trekshuyt  we  entered  bore  the  date  1745,  and  on  inquiry  we 
found  the  boat  to  be  really  so  old.  Most  of  the  houses, 
observed,  were  dated  1600  to  1750. 

In  the  library  of  the  University  there  was  an  exquisitel; 
beautiful  manuscript  copy  of  Virgil  of  the  fourteenth  century, 
illuminated.  What  delighted  me  most  were  two  manuscript 
volumes  of  Hugo  Grotius's  "  Commentaries  on  the  New  Testa- 
ment," in  his  own  hand.  The  librarian  told  me  that  the 


DUTCH   CATHEDRALS  109 


K 
niversity  gave  200  guelders  for  each  volume,  i.e.  about 
r  the  two,  which  I  would  willingly  pay  for  them,  and  take 
eir  bargain. 

We  were  admitted  by  great  good   fortune  to  see  a  most 
pital  collection  of  Flemish  paintings  belonging  to  a  private 
gentleman.     They  were  the  property  of  a  Catholic  priest,  Mr. 
Ocko,  who  died  very  recently.    A  portrait  of  the  wife  of  Claude 
raine  by  Morcelses  was  more  beautiful  and  natural  to  my 
e  than  anything  I  ever  beheld.     She  seemed  to  start  into  life 
you  looked  at  her. 

There  were  some  small  pieces  of  Gerard  Dow  which  seemed 
yond  the  possibility  of  the  art.  I  recollect  one  representing 
cottage  family  at  dinner,  which  I  could  have  looked  at  for 
urs.  .  .  . 

From  Leyden  he  went  by  curricle,  with  Mr. 
Latham,  to  Haarlem,  where  they  stopped  at  the 
*'  Lion  d'Or,"  and  visited  the  cathedral. 

.  .  .  There  is  a  striking  difference  between  the  appearance 
of  these  immense  monuments  (the  cathedrals)  of  other  days  in 
England  and  here,  and  the  manner  in  which  they  are  at  present 
kept  and  made  use  of.1 

In  England  one  could  imagine  that  they  were  edifices 
erected  in  distant  ages  for  a  different  race  of  men.  We  seem 
to  use  them  something  like  the  fox,  looking  out  of  the  ruined 
hall  as  described  by  Ossian,  not  because  they  are  the  things  we 
KV/M/,  but  because  we  found  them  ready  made  to  our  hand. 

Now  in  Holland  everything  is  kept  in  repair  —  and  bound- 
less as  the  space  is  within  their  vast  churches  (formerly 
cathedrals)  there  is  no  appearance  of  ruin. 

Of  course,  all  this  renders  it  less  venerable  to  the  sight  and 
interesting  to  the  mind,  but  their  churches  seem  to  correspond 
more  to  their  present  wants  and  agree  perfectly  with  their 
straight-haired  Domini  and  the  demure,  plainly  dressed,  quiet 
comfortable  -  looking  congregations.  Throughout  Holland  I 
recollect  no  symptom  of  a  people  who  had  gone  further  in 

1  It  must  be  remembered  that  this  alludes  to  the  England  of  1816. 


110    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

elegance  and  magnificence  than  seemed  to  suit  the  present 
generation.  Nothing  in  their  country  seems  ever  to  have  been 
otherwise  than  it  is,  except  from  the  gradual  effect  of  time. 
Nothing  suffering  from  neglect  or  disuse. 

At  Amsterdam,  to  which  he  went  by  trekshuyt 
from  Haarlem,  he  was  much  struck  by  a  small  paint- 
ing in  the  museum  of  the  Stadt-house — a  "  school  by 
candle-light "  by  Gerard  Dow. 

How  strikingly  correct  are  the  shades  of  light  .  .  .  the 
very  facsimile  of  a  burning  taper  has  been  produced  by  the 
painter. 

The  carved  wood  in  the  New  Church  (at  Amsterdam)  is 
really  exquisite,  the  most  superb  thing  of  the  sort  I  have  seen, 
except  perhaps  the  gallery  of  the  Middle  Temple  Hall,  and  in 
St.  George's  Chapel  at  Windsor.  .  .  . 

From  Amsterdam  he  visited  the  village  of  Broek, 
which  was  then,  and  I  believe  still  is,1  a  curiosity 
among  the  villages  of  the  world  on  account  of  its 
extreme  neatness,  deemed  even  in  Holland  to  be 
carried  to  the  extent  of  absurdity. 

The  streets  are  divided  by  little  rivulets  paved  in  mosaic 
work  with  variegated  shells.  A  dog  or  cat  is  never  seen  to 
trespass  upon  them.  Carriages  are  not  permitted  to  enter  the 
village.  The  houses  are  about  300  in  number.  The  shutters 
of  the  front  windows  are  generally  closed,  and  the  principal 
entrance  is  never  opened  but  on  the  marriage  or  death  of  one 
of  the  family.  The  inhabitants  scarcely  ever  admit  a  stranger 
within  their  doors. 

In  our  walk  through  we  saw  no  human  being  but  one  or 
two  who  were  busy  in  scrubbing  and  polishing  what  appeared 
as  clean  as  it  could  be. 

The  village  forms  one  of  those  things  from  which  one  man 
may  go  out  in  raptures,  and  another  may  ridicule  as  an  imitation 

1  I  saw  it  in  1874,  and  it  was  then  much  as  mv  father  describes  it  here. 


v    AMSTERDAM— I3ROEK— ANTWERP    111 

of  a  toy-shop,  but  all  must  acknowledge  that  they  hail  before 
formed  no  idea  of  the  reality,  and  unless  they  had  seen  it  they 
would  never  believe  that  such  an  appearance  could  be  given  to 
a  town  containing  300  families  pursuing  the  common  avocations 
of  life. 

It  is  said  that  the  people  of  Brock  once  turned  a  stranger 
out  of  their  town  for  snee/ing  in  the  street.  How  odd  that  for 
300  years  the  inhabitants  of  this  town  should  have  kept  up  an 
appearance  which  as  distinctly  marks  them  from  their  own 

rtrymen  as  from  the  rest  of  the  world.  .  .  . 
Returning    to    Amsterdam,   the    trekshuyt   was 
again  taken  to  Utrecht. 

AY  hat  respectable-looking  people  conduct  these  boats.  Our 
present  helmsman  has  a  big  wig  like  a  Chief  Justice,  black 
breeches  and  stockings,  and  silver  buckles  as  large  as  my 
hand. 

From  Amsterdam  to  Utrecht,  the  canal  is  lined  with  villas, 
so  that  it  all  seems  a  continued  pleasure  ground. 

The.  little  summer-houses  on  the  banks  with  the  flower 
gardens  and  statues,  the  delightful  woods  and  the  variety  of 
carriages  along  the  road  which  borders  the  canal,  the  number 
of  little  tea-parties  in  the  summer-houses,  and  the  general 
appearance  of  the  whole  being  devoted  to  peaceful  undisturbed 
enjoyment,  form  a  most  pleasing  impression  on  the  mind  of  the 
':ig  traveller,  who,  walking  on  the  top  of  his  trekshuyt, 
glides  through,  receiving  and  returning  the  respectful  salutations 
invariably  offered  by  the  little  groups  who,  strolling  through 
the  gardens  and  groves,,  or  drinking  their  coffee  in  the  neat 
little  casinos,  give  life  and  variety  to  the  picture. 

Three  or  four  miles  of  this  evening's  journey  are  worth 
coming  from  England  to  see. 

From  Utrecht,  the  diligence  was  taken  through 
Breda  to  Antwerp. 

He  w;is  much  impressed  by  many  things  in 
Antwerp,  especially  by  the  Cathedral  of  St.  Jacques, 


112   SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

with  its  "  Descent  from  the  Cross "  by  Rubens,  and 
"  The  Marriage  Feast "  by  Vandyke. 

The  "Museum"  contains  many  paintings,  lately 
returned  from  the  Louvre.  Among  them  is  the  "  Crucifixion  " 
by  Rubens,  thought  by  many,  and  among  others  by  Sir  Joshua 
Reynolds,  to  be  the  first  in  the  world  for  colouring  and 
composition. 

What  struck  me  most  in  it  was  the  wonderful  correctness 
of  execution  in  the  spear  piercing  our  Saviour's  side.  The 
impatient  agony  of  the  two  thieves,  and  our  Saviour's  placid 
countenance  are  admirably  portrayed. 

We  went  after  church  (Sunday,  18th  August  1816)  with 
Madame  Solvyns  to  see  a  capital  private  collection  of  paintings 
belonging  to  a  gentleman  in  the  Place  de  Mer.  At  the  head 
of  the  staircase  was  a  small  statue  of  Cupid  with  this  elegant 
little  French  couplet  under  it : — 

"  Qui  que  tu  sois,  voici  ton  maitre, 
II  1'est,  le  fut,  ou  le  doit  etre." 

Before  dinner  I  put  in  practice  my  intention  of  ascending 
the  spire  of  the  cathedral,  and  a  tremendous  undertaking  it 
was.  I  went  to  the  highest  gallery  just  under  the  cupola,  620 
steps  from  the  bottom.  My  old  guide  stopped  short  at  the 
last  landing-place,  120  feet  from  the  top,  and  indeed  the  last 
twenty  or  thirty  feet  were  terrific,  for  it  is  all  open  work — old 
gothic  arches  with  every  appearance  of  ruin  and  decay  and  held 
together  with  clamps  of  iron.  The  wind  seemed  as  if  it  would 
blow  one  through  the  arches,  and  the  noise  was  awful. 

He  left  Antwerp  by  diligence  for  Brussels,  and, 
on  the  20th  August,  visited  the  field  of  Waterloo. 

The  little  eminence  to  which  Bonaparte  several  times 
advanced  while  the  attempts  were  being  made  to  force  the 
British  line  is  much  nearer  the  scene  of  action  at  the  momenl 
than  I  had  imagined. 

The  morning  was  bright  and  beautiful.  The  harvest  men 
were  gathering  their  crops  of  rye  in  that  field  where  little 
more  than  a  year  ago  had  been  decided  the  fate  of  nations,  and 


v  FIELD   OF   WATERLOO  113 

which  now  exhibited  scarce  a  mark  by  which  the  traveller 
could  discover  that  it  had  witnessed  the  desolation  of  such 
mighty  armies.  The  field  of  battle,  and  the  woods  which 
skirt  it,  is  one  of  the  prettiest  scenes  I  observed  in  the  Nether- 
lands, and  would  be  admired  for  its  natural  beauty  alone. 


: 


The  journey  from  Brussels  to  Paris  was  made 
alone,  by  cabriolet,  his  friend  Latham  having  sepa- 
ted  from  him  at  Brussels,  to  go  to  Spa.     The  route 
y    through    Braine  -  le  -  Compte,    Soignies,    Mons, 
Vralenciennes,  and  Cambray. 


, 


Valenciennes  contains  now  a  great  body  of  British  troops. 
met  Major  Ilolcroft  in  the  streets,  who  could  not  believe  his 
•es,  and  wondered,  as  well  he  might,  how  and  why  I  had 

nd  my  way  there.  I  inquired  for  my  old  schoolfellow,  Poole 
ngland,  and  found  I  should  most  likely  see  him  at  Cambray. 


Major  (then  Captain)  Holcroft,  Royal  Artillery, 
above  alluded  to,  had  command  of  the  "  Car  "  Brigade 
of  Artillery  (a  volunteer  artillery  company  of  farmers' 
sons  with  their  draught  horses)  at  the  Battle  of  Queen- 
ston  Heights  in  1812. 

Poole  England  (whom,  as  he  had  been  detached 
from  Cambray  to  some  place  nearer  the  coast,  he 
missed  seeing)  lived  to  be  a  General  Officer  and 
Commandant  of  the  Royal  Artillery.  He  saw  active 
service  in  the  expedition  to  the  Weser  (1805-6),  at 
the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  1806-7,  in  the  Peninsular 
War,  1813  and  1814,  and  died  November  6,  1884, 
aged  ninety-six. 

Arriving  at  Paris  on  the  24th  August  1816,  my 
father  remained  there  three  weeks,  stopping  at  the 
Hotel  de  Breteuil  in  the  Rue  de  Rivoli,  where  he 
had,  he  says,  "  two  very  convenient  little  rooms,  snugly 
furnished,  looking  into  the  Tuileries  Gardens." 

H 


114    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

After  dressing  I  observed  the  gardens  crowded  with  gay 
company.  In  a  few  minutes  Louis  XVIII.  made  his  appear- 
ance at  an  upper  window  of  the  palace.  I  was  standing 
immediately  opposite,  and  should  certainly  have  known  him 
by  his  portraits  I  have  seen.  Hats  were  all  taken  off,  and 
I  joined  in  the  cry  of  Vive  le  Roi,  which  was  not  as  hearty 
as  I  expected  it  would  have  been,  not  like  John  Bull's  shouting 
when  he  is  really  delighted.  He  soon  hobbled  away,  showing 
much  infirmity  in  his  motions.  The  Dukes  of  Berri  and  of 
Angouleme  and  the  Duchesses  afterwards  presented  themselves 
at  the  window,  and  soon  retired. 

The  world  probably  contains  nothing  that  equals  in 
splendour  the  area  comprehending  the  Tuileries  Gardens  and 
Palace,  the  Louvre,  and  Palais  Royal. 

^It  is  uncomfortable  walking  through  Paris,  foot-passengers 
throng  in  the  middle  of  the  road  and  coaches  drive  everywhere. 
It's  all  sauve  qui  pent,  and  you  require  to  be  constantly  on  the 
watch.  I  saw  few  elegant  carriages,  and,  excepting  the  palace 
itself  and  surrounding  objects,  there  is  more  real  splendour 
in  a  full  levee  at  Carlton  House  or  the  Queen's  Palace.  ' 

At  2,  I  walked  in  the  Champs  Elysees.  The  whole  place 
is  full  of  booths,  stages,  and  thousands  and  thousands  of  well- 
dressed  people. 

The  most  curious  sight  is  the  Mat  de  Cocagne,  which 
furnished  the  wits  lately  with  a  very  good  subject  for  a  cari- 
cature. It  is  a  great  pole  of  forty  to  fifty  feet  high,  at  the  top 
of  which  is  a  bush,  and  to  the  branches  are  tied  silver  cups  and 
other  temptations  for  adventurers.  The  pole  is  greased,  and 
the  great  amusement  is  to  see  hundreds,  one  after  the  other, 
attempt  to  gain  the  top.  Often,  when  they  are  nearly  up, 
they  begin  to  slip,  and  then  it  is  out  of  the  question  to  stop, 
and  away  they  go. 

The  "caricature"  above  alluded  to  is  a  famous 
one  by  George  Cruikshank,  1815.  The  gouty  and 
infirm  king  has  by  great  efforts  reached  the  summit 
of  the  pole,  and  is  about  to  grasp  the  crown.  He  is 


I 


v  THE   MAT   DE   COCAGNE  115 

supported  from  below  by  Wellington  (who  props 
him  up  with  his  sword  point,  to  his  great  discomfort), 
and  on  the  shoulders  of  Austria,  Russia,  and  Prussia. 
His  pockets  are  laden  with  money-bags  and  holy 
water,  to  satisfy  the  claims  of  the  emigres.  His 
position  is  evidently  an  unhappy  one.  Napoleon 
watches  him  from  across  the  sea,  and  is  saying,  "  I 
climbed  up  twice,  without  any  help." 

1  couldn't  help  thinking  when  I  entered  the  Champs. 
KlvMvs  to-day  of  Sterne's  exclamation,  "All  the  world  had 
gone  a  May-poling.11  Every  face  seems  determined  to  be 
pleased.  Here,  as  every  where,  a  great  proportion  of  the 
loungers  were  military.  I  saw  a  partv  of  young  soldiers  who 
were  dancing  hand  to  hand  in  a  large  ring,  and  singing  a 
ational  song  of  which  the  burden,  of  course,  was  f'/rr  lc  Roi. 
Probably  some  of  these  same  men  only  la>t  year  deserted  a 
usurper's  standard.  One  would  think  to-night  that  there  were 
but  the  words  V'irc  lc  Uol  in  the  French  language.  I  daresay 
there  have  been  more  Vive  le  Ro'i.s  said  and  sung  this  day  and 
night  in  Paris  than  there  have  been  "Clod  save  the  King" 
through  the  last  reign.  Poor  Louis  can't  feel  much  elevated 
by  the  shouts  of  this  Paris  mob. 

Passing  near  the  Louvre  in  a  cabriolet  to-day  I  met  the 
Count  de  Chains.  He  was  quite  astonished  to  see  me,  and 
seemed  greatly  pleased  to  find  a  person  from  Canada.  He  gave 
me  a  long  account  of  his  own  private  interests,  and  of  the  politics 
of  the  court  respecting  persons  in  his  situation.  He  says  that 
those  who  adhered  most  obstinately  to  the  royal  party  during  the 
Revolution,  and  like  himself  abandoned  their  country  until  the 
restoration  of  the  monarchy,  are  named  ultra-royalists,  and  are 
not  provided  for  or  employed  in  the  same  manner  as  those 
who,  having  been  servants  of  Buonaparte,  contributed  by  their 
defection  to  the  king's  success;  but  he  savs  it  is  unavoidable. 

The  Count  de  Chalus,  here  referred  to,  was  one 
of  the  Royalist  emigres  to  Canada  after  the  French 
Revolution.  In  Book  285,  Record  Office,  Upper 


116    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Canada,  1793,  Major-General  the  Count  de  Chalus 
and  servants  are  entered  as  residing  at  Niagara,  and 
subsequently  Colonel  le  Vicomte  de  Chalus  and 
Madame  Vicomtesse,  and  Major  Quetton  de  St. 
George  are  entered  as  having  resided  at  Windham. 

%8th  August. — I  went  to  the  Theatre  Francis.  The  piece 
was  Andromache,  and  the  famous  Talma  was  Hector.  His 
action  is  graceful,  his  voice  admirably  tragic,  manly,  and 
deep-toned. 

From  the  little  opportunity  I  had  of  judging  of  Talma — by 
what  I  saw  of  his  manner  and  his  countenance,  and  heard  of  his 
voice — I  should  think  he  must  be  a  much  greater  treat  to  a 
Frenchman  than  Kemble  to  an  Englishman. 

Later  on  he  saw  Talma  again  in  the  part  of 
Hamlet,  as  adapted  to  the  French  stage,  and  writes  : — 

One  feels  naturally  great  prejudices  at  the  tragedy  of 
Shakespeare  being  moulded  into  rhyme  and  stripped  of  those 
marks  and  touches  of  nature  which,  if  they  could  be  rendered 
into  another  language,  would  scarcely  be  understood.  The 
admirable  soliloquy  is  not  attempted,  and  they  dispense  with 
the  players  and  the  grave-diggers,  who  would  be  rather 
grotesque  in  regular  hexameters.  You  would  suppose  it  could 
excite  little  feeling  in  the  representation,  but  it  was  far 
otherwise. 

His  manner  is  graceful,  manly,  and  chaste,  without  cant  or 
grimace.  The  audience  were  extremely  affected.  I  think,  had 
I  been  a  Frenchman,  I  could  have  wished  for  nothing  better  in 
tragedy.  With  all  the  disadvantages  of  not  understanding 
him  with  ease,  I  am  very  sure  I  was  never  altogether  so 
satisfied  with  the  performance  of  a  tragedy  on  the  English 
stage  as  I  was  with  this.  Ophelia  was  a  wretched  stick. 

..  I  have  now  heard  Talma,  Kemble,  and  Mrs.  Siddons  play, 
and  seen  Vestris  dance,  rather  better  fortune  than  I  had 
anticipated,  j 

3rd  September. — Went  to  the  Chamber  of  Deputies  in  the 
Palais  Bourbon.  Below  the  President's  chair  is  the  place  for 


r 


!;; 


v  VIEW  FROM   ST.   GERMAIN         117 

the  orators,  for  the  members  do  not,  as  in  the  English  House 
f  Commons,  speak  in  their  places  ;  but,  if  they  have  anything 
.  they  must  mount  the  rostrum,  and,  after  having  made 
eir  bow  to  the   President,  turn   their  back  upon  him,  and 
address  themselves  to  the  Deputies. 

I  doubt  whether  this  system  is  not  a  wise  one,  for  it  gives^ 
ore  solemnity  and  form  to  the  meeting,  and  precludes  those 
conversation  pieces  which  take  up  so  much  time  in  the  British 
House  of  Commons.      Besides,  I   daresay  many  a  man  gets   up 
in  his   place  and  talks  a  great  deal   of  nonsense  who  would 
ile  about  making  a  formal  exhibition  and  putting  himself 
a  situation  where  something  like  an  oration  would  be  ex-, 
pected  from  him. 


He  enjoyed  especially  his  visits  to  Fontainebleau, 
It.   Cloud,   Versailles,  &c.,  and  the  views  over  the 
country  obtainable  from  the  heights  near  them  ;  and 
more  than  all,  the  prospect  from  the  terrace  in  front 
of  the  Palace  of  St.  Germain.1 

I  remained  a  long  time  feasting  my  eyes  on  its  beauty.  At 
your  feet  is  a  vineyard  clothing  the  natural  declivity  to  the 
banks  of  the  Seine  ;  behind  are  the  gardens  and  palace  of  St. 
(id-main;  on  your  right  the  heights  of  Marli,  covered  with 
lives;  the  palace  and  park  of  Malmaison ;  before  you,  the 
Seine  meandering  through  the  whole  extent  of  the  prospect; 
upon  its  banks  the  towns  of  Croissy,  Le  Pic,  Ruit,  and  Nan- 
terre;  in  the  distance  Mont  Valerien  and  Montmartre,  and  the 
venerable  spire  of  St.  Denis  Cathedral ;  on  the  left,  Montmor- 
ency  and  its  delightful  vale.  While  I  was  looking  at  this 
charming  valley,  a  storm  of  rain  and  mist  swept  over  it.  At 
the  same  time  the  sun  shone  bright  upon  the  heights  of  Marli, 
and  as  the  cloud  retired  and  restored  the  beauties  of  the  Vale 
of  Montmorency,  nothing  in  scenery,  though  it  might  be  more 
grand,  could  be  more  beautiful  and  pleasing. 

...  I  was  much  struck  with  the  graceful,  easy  manner  of 
French  men  and  women  of  all  ranks.  You  see  nowhere  any 

1  See  also  page  130. 


118    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

mark  of  embarrassment  or  awkwardness,  nor  is  their  manner  at 
all  an  impudent  one,  or  an  affected  imitation  of  the  higher 
classes. 

It  sits  as  'easily  on  them,  and  seems  as  much  their  own,  as 
that  of  the  most  finished  courtier. 

I  observed  a  common,  plain-looking  countryman  in  his 
home-spun  jacket,  straw  hat,  and  long  queue,  meeting  another 
peasant  with  his  wife,  and  bowing  as  he  approached,  with  all  the 
easy  grace  imaginable,  "  Madame,  j'ai  Thonneur  de  vous  saluer, 
et  monsieur,"  and  throws  out  his  hand  to  "  monsieur  "  with  the 
careless  air  of  a  man  of  fashion. 

If  an  honest  English  farmer  were  to  attempt  this  sort  of 
thing,  he  would  certainly  look  ridiculous,  not  but  that  his 
hearty  shake  of  the  hand  and  honest  bluntness  may  be  quite 
as  pleasing. 

.  .  .  One  cannot  help  observing  the  striking  difference 
between  the  French  and  English  in  another  way. 

Most  of  the  requests  which  in  English  are  simply,  "  Ring 
the  bell,"  or  "  Knock,"  or  "  Shut  the  gate,"  have  in  Paris  the 
termination,  "  S'il  vous  plait,"  or  the  initials  S.V.P. 


September.  —  I  breakfasted  this  morning  with  Mr. 
M'Leay  and  Mr.  Ritchie,  secretary  to  Sir  Charles  Stewart,  the 
English  Ambassador,  a  fine  young  man,  botany  mad,  and 
all  on  fire  to  visit  the  interior  of  Africa  to  gather  leaves  and 
mosses.  .  .  . 

On  going  to  the  diligence  office  I  found  the  stages  to  Rouen 
full.  While  I  was  inquiring,  a  gentleman  came  in  to  hire  a 
carriage  to  Dieppe,  and  he  readily  agreed  to  join,  so  I  engaged 
a  carriage  for  three,  for  he  had  a  servant  with  him,  and  we  had 
to  pay  100  francs.  .  .  ./My  travelling  companion  I  found  very 
pleasant,  and  as  much  a  Frenchman  as  English,  which  proved 
convenient.  His  name  is  Beauvais.  His  sister  is  mother  of 
George  Auldjo  of  Montreal,  and  he  knows  many  of  my  Canadian 
acquaintances.  Sir  Alexander  M'Kenzie  married  his  niece.^ 

Sailing  from  Dieppe  on  the  evening  of  the  14th 
September,  he  reached  Brighton  after  a  passage  of 


v  A   LONDON   MOB  119 

twelve  hours,  on  the  morning  of  the  15th  September 
181&I 

London,  21,9^  November.  —  ...  I  saw  lately  an  inconsider- 
able example  of  a  London  mob.  After  a  seditious  meeting  in 
Spa  fields,  some  hundreds  collected  at  night,  and,  proceeding  to 
St.  James1  Square,  broke  some  of  the  windows  of  Lord  Castle- 
rea^-lfs  house.  Then  returning  they  moved  up  St  Martin's 
Lane,  broke  into  some  baker  and  butcher  shops,  and  carried  oft* 
the  bread  and  meat  ;  and  sticking  some  loaves  on  long  poles, 
marched  riotously  about  Leicester  Square  and  up  to  Seven 
Dials.  I  was  in  the  midst  of  them,  and  greater  cowards  I 
never  saw.  They  were  in  continual  fear  of  the  military,  and 
two  dragoons  could  have  put  them  to  flight.  The  peace 
oilicers  succeeded  in  suppressing  them.  .  .  . 


December.  —  I  went  down  to-day  with  Mr.  Adams  in 
his  carriage  to  Sydenham  and  dined  with  my  good  friends  there, 
who  always  crive  me  a  cordial  welcome. 

Our  dinner  party,  besides  the  many  ladies  of  the  family, 
consisted  of  Sir  Herbert  Sawyer,  the  admiral  who  commanded 
on  the  Halifax  station  some  years  ago;  Captain  Wise  of  the 
Gmnu-ux,  whose  gallant  conduct,  was  conspicuous  in  the  late 
at  lack  on  Algiers;  and  Mr.  Scott,  the  celebrated  surgeon  of 
Bromley.  Mr.  Campbell,  the  poet,  joined  us  in  the  evening. 
Captain  Dacres,  Mr.  Adams'1  cousin,  who  lost  the  Gucrricre,1 
!o  ha  vi'  dined,  but  was  prevented.  I  had  a  good  deal 
of  conversation  with  Sir  Herbert  Sawyer  on  American  matters. 
We  spent  an  extremely  pleasant  day,  and  at  least  ended  the 
old  year  happily. 

I*/  January  1817.  —  Breakfasted  with  Mr.  Adams,  and  re- 
turned to  town  with  Captain  Wise,  who  offered  me  a  seat  in 
his  gig.  Dined  with  the  Merrys,  and  thus  finished  my  New 

Year's  Day. 

1  In  the  action  between  the  British  frigate  Gnerrit-re  (once  a  French 
vi»>M-l  ,  -\\\  iTuns.  cri-w  244,  and  the  American  friir.-itc-  Constitution  (56  guns, 
crew  4»;n).  Auirust  19,  1812,  Captain  Dacres  fought  his  ship  until  she  was 
so  dam.-igcd  that  she  could  not  afterwards  be  kept  afloat,  and  only  then 
lowered  his  flag. 


120    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

4>th  January. — Commenced  my  journey  to  Northampton- 
shire to  pay  the  Reverend  George  Boulton,  Rector  of  Oxen  den 
(brother  of  Mr.  D'Arcy  Boulton,  Attorney-General  of  Upper 
Canada),  my  long-promised  visit. 

.  .  .  They  gave  me  a  very  cordial  welcome,  and  from  Mr. 
Boultons extreme  and  indeed  wonderful  resemblance  in  manners 
and  conversation  to  his  brother,  and  from  the  cheerful  good- 
humour  of  the  whole  family,  I  soon  felt  myself  perfectly  at 
home. 

%0th  January. — I  rose  at  daylight  (to  return  to  London), 
and  found  all  the  young  ladies  downstairs  and  a  comfortable 
breakfast  waiting  for  me.  .  .  . 

On  the  return  journey  he  stopped  at  Coventry, 
where  a  fellow-traveller,  Mr.  Ing,  showed  him  what 
was  to  be  seen.  He  also  visited  Kenilworth,  Warwick 
Castle,  Stratford-on-Avon,  and  Stowe,  reaching 
London  on  the  25th. 

%8th  January. — Parliament  met  to-day,  and  I  went  there  at 
one  o'clock. 

At  two  o'clock,  the  Prince  Regent  entered  and  delivered 
the  speech  from  the  throne  in  a  good  strong  voice,  and  with 
proper  effect. 

The  whole  scene  is  very  splendid.  The  great  number  of 
well-dressed  ladies,  foreigners  of  distinction,  peers  in  their  robes, 
bishops  in  lawn,  judges  and  Serjeants  in  their  wigs  and  scarlet, 
&c.  The  Prince  must  have  dreaded  very  much  this  necessary 
ceremony,  and  not  without  cause,  as  was  proved  by  the  dis- 
graceful outrages  committed  on  his  passage  back  through 
St.  James"1  Park.  The  window  of  his  state  carriage  was  broken 
in  by  great  stones  thrown  by  the  mob,  and  perforated  (as  is 
imagined)  by  bullets.  The  horses  were  attacked ;  Colonel 
Barton,  who  commanded  the  Guards,  pelted,  &c. 

One  thousand  pounds  reward  is  offered  for  the  discovery  of 
any  person  who  threw  the  stones,  but  nothing  is  yet  found  out. 

About  this  time  my  father  ceased  keeping  his 
Journal  regularly,  resuming  it  again  during  a  trip, 


v  OPENING   OF   PARLIAMENT          li>l 

rid  Matlock,  to  tlie  English  lakes  and  Scotland  in 
April  and  May  1817,  in  the  form  of  letters  to  my 
mother,  to  whom  he  was  then  engaged. 
Writing  of  Matloek,  he  says : 


We  set  out  to  scramble  to  the  top  of  High  Tor.  Did  you 
know  that  this  mountain  is  called  "The  Height  of  Abraham," 
from  its  striking  resemblance  to  the  Heights  of  Abraham  at 
Quebec.  I  was  not  disappointed.  The  prospect  was  awfully 
grand,  but  not  so  good  as  several  views  we  snatched  as  we 
laboured  up  the  side. 

The  Yorkshire  scenery  struck  him  as  especially 
beautiful.  lie  writes  of  the  route  from  Sheffield  to 
Leeds,  through  AY'akcHeld,  "  I  have  seen  no  tract 
of  equal  extent  half  so  rich  and  lovely.  I  must  give 
up  my  favourite  Kent,  and  give,  above  all,  the  pre- 
ference to  Yorkshire." 


L,  8/A  April  1817. 

This  morning  I  was  detained  determining  my  tour,  and 
preparing  for  pedestrian  feats  by  sending  off  my  bag. 
to  Ambleside  to  wait  for  me.  At  breakfast  I  met  a  young 
gentleman  who  had  been  detained  a  prisoner  in  the  United 
States  during  the  late  war,  and  knew  some  of  my  old  friends 
who  were  his  companions  in  captivity. 

From  this  point  —  generally  walking,  but  some- 
times on  horseback  or  driving  —  he  visited  all  the 
points  of  most  interest  on  Lakes  Windermere,  Coni- 
ston  Water,  Grasmere,  Derwentwater,  and  Ulswater. 

In  writing  to  my  mother  from  Windermere,  he 
says  :  "  The  poetical  fit,  as  I  told  you,  has  been 
coming  on  ever  since  I  beheld  the  Vale  of  Otley, 
and  all  the  charms  of  Yorkshire,"  and  he  sends  her 
some  verses,  of  which  I  give  the  opening  and  con- 
cluding lines. 


122    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Lines  on  an  April  visit  to  Windermere  on  a  fine  evening, 
immediately  after  a  storm. 

THE  clouds  are  fled,  the  storm  is  o'er, 
The  winds  are  hushed  that  swept  thy  shore, 
'Tis  evening,  and  thy  mountains  gleam 
Beneath  the  sun's  departing  beam, 
The  mists  the  clouds  had  scattered  wide, 
Are  gilded  as  they  mount  their  side. 
More  lovely  now  each  charm  appears, 
'Tis  beauty  smiling  through  her  tears. 
Sweet  lake,  whose  bosom  clear,  serene, 
Reflects  each  feature  of  the  scene, 
One  who  ne'er  thought  to  wander  here, 
A  stranger  greets  thee,  Windermere. 

Born  in  a  land  where  winter  reigns 
Stern  as  o'er  bleak  Siberia's  plains, 
Where  summer's  bright  and  genial  sky 
Might  rival  that  of  Italy, 
I  oft  have  stray'd  where  deep'ning  wood 
Frowns  o'er  St.  Lawrence'  noble  flood, 
Or  where  Niagara's  torrents  roar — 
Sublimest  work  in  nature's  store. 
On  Abr'ham's  plains  where  Britain's  pride — 
Lamented  Wolfe — in  victory  died. 
But  could  I  hope  to  wander  here, 
On  thy  sweet  margin — Windermere  ? 

' 

O  Sun !  in  all  thy  various  course, 
E'en  in  those  regions  where  thy  force 
Is  fiercest  felt,  where  shine  most  bright 
Thy  glories — splendid  orb  of  light ! 
Where  suppliant  nations  bow  the  knee 
And  own  no  other  God  but  thee. 
Or  in  those  milder  climes  where  reigns 
Thy  temper'd  influence  o'er  the  plains, 
Where  hills  and  dales  and  meads  are  seen 
Like  Albion's,  in  eternal  green, 
Say — do'st  thou  ever  rise  to  cheer 
A  brighter  scene  than  Windermere  ? 


THE  ENGLISH  LAKES 

Farewell  each  cot,  each  cove,  each  hill, 
In  mem'ry  shall  I  view  thee  still, 
Each  isle  thy  ambient  water  laves 
Each  tree  that  o'er  thy  bosom  waves, 
And  ev'ry  charm  that  centres  here, 
Farewell — farewell — sweet  Windermere. 

You  may  smile  at  your  lucky  escape  when  I  tell  you  that, 
some  former  attacks  of  the  poetical  fit,  I  have  been  very 
nearly  exercising  inv  troublesome  talent  on  a  subject  whose 
beauties  lie  much  nearer  my  heart  than  those  of  Windermere, 
but  I  have  managed  to  restrain  my  wicked  propensity. 

It  was  prudent  evidently  to  make  the  first  experiment  on 

tpoor  senseless  lake,  which  cannot  feel  the  insult. 


After  seeing   Ulswater,  he  returned  to  Penrith 
jfore  taking  the  coach  to  Carlisle. 


; 


So  ended  my  tour  of  the  Lakes.  Were  I  required  to  give 
,n  opinion,  I  should  hesitate  much  in  deciding  which  is  the 
prettiest.  Windermere  has  its  island,  and  its  mountains  are 
extremely  majestic. 

The  Coniston  Water  is  beautiful,  and  its  surrounding 
mountains  are  grand,  but  there  is  a  nakedness  about  it.  The 
Derwentwater  has  exquisite  beauties.  The  whole  shore  from 
the  town  to  the  Borrowdale  Pass  along  Lowdon — the  fine 
islands — the  wood  opposite  Keswick — the  Crosthwaite  Church 
at  the  top — Skiddaw  behind,  and  the  town  of  Keswick  seated 
on  the  bank,  form  a  combination  of  charms. 

But  then  again  Ulswater,  with  all  its  grand  scenery  around 
t  (certainly  not  so  wild  and  romantic  as  the  others),  and  its 
fine,  free,  bold  expanse  of  water,  has  such  an  air  of  beauty  of 
civilisation,  that  I  believe  I  should  lean  to  it  in  my  judgment ; 
but  it  has  one  sad  want — islands — at  least  in  its  principal 
expanse. 

On  the  whole,  my  trip  to  the  Lakes  gratified  me  extremely. 
Our  large  rivers  rolling  among  their  numerous  islands  afford 
many  hundreds  of  scenes  of  much  the  same  nature,  but  we 
have  no  Skiddaw  or  Helvellyn,  and  the  grand  characteristics  of 
Westmoreland  were  a  novel  sight  to  me. 


124    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

I  was  much  pleased  with  the  people  of  the  country — I  mean 
the  farmers  and  shepherds.  What  shoes  they  use  among  these 
mountains  ;  what  ponderous  frames  of  wood  and  iron.  Do  you 
know  I  should  not  be  surprised  if  the  phrase  of  a  son  "  stepping 
into  his  father's  shoes "  was  taken  from  Westmoreland  and 
Cumberland,  where  the  shoes  may  literally  descend  as  an  heir- 
loom from  generation  to  generation. 

Passing  through  Gretna  Green  into  Scotland,  he 
visited  the  Falls  of  the  Clyde. 

After  I  had  ascended  the  hill  on  my  return  home,  the  view 
of  the  Clyde  below  me,  and  of  Lanark  beautifully  situated  on 
the  opposite  bank  was  extremely  pleasing.  Indeed,  I  was  sur- 
prised I  had  not  heard  the  scenery  about  here  more  particularly 
spoken  of.  It  excels  many  places  I  have  seen  described  in 
most  glowing  colours,  and  I  shall  never  withhold  my  assent 
from  any  Scotsman  when  he  expatiates  on  the  beauties  of 
the  "  Vale  of  the  Clyde." 

At  Glasgow  he  met  an  old  brother  officer,  Captain 
Jarvie,  who,  jointly  with  his  father  and  brothers,  was 
proprietor  of  the  Anderton  Rope  Works  there. 

How  little  we  thought  four  years  ago,  when  we  were  march- 
ing about  Canada,  that  we  should  ever  meet  in  Glasgow.  Poor 
fellow,  his  arm  is  a  useless  burthen  to  him,  and  another  serious 
shot  he  received  in  his  leg,  when  York  (Toronto)  was  attacked 
just  this  month  four  years  ago,1  has  changed  him  much  from 
the  braw,  sturdy  chiel  he  used  to  be.  I  spent  the  morning  in 
perambulating  the  town  under  his  guidance. 

From  Glasgow  his  route  lay  by  steamer  down  the 
Clyde  to  Dunglass,  whence  he  saw  Dumbarton 
Castle;  then  along  Loch  Lomond  to  Luss,  from 
whence  he  ascended  Ben  Lomond  ;  then  by  Aber- 

1  Captain  Jarvie  appears  to  have  served  in  the  Incorporated  Militia  at 
the  taking  of  York  in  1813  and  was  also  in  the  campaign  of  1812. 


v  GLASGOW— ABERDEEN  125 

foyle    to    Loch    Katrine,    Callander,    Stirling,   and 
Edinburgh. 

Saturday,  19th  April  1817. — At  eight  this  morning  I  left 
Stirling  in  the  mail  for  Edinburgh.  This  is  a  charming  and 
delightful  country.  I  am  quite  in  love  with  it.  It  has  far 
exceeded  my  expectations.  .  .  . 

Before  seeing  anything  in  Edinburgh,  he  deter- 
mined to  pay  a  visit,  though  a  hurried  one  and  in- 
volving a  long  journey  by  coach,  to  Aberdeen. 

K\  could  be  well  content  to  go  no  further  north,  but  I  cannot 
the  idea  of  being  within  twenty-four  hours  of  the  place 
re  Dr.  Strachan,  my  best  and  dearest  friend,  was  born  and 
educated,  and  where  I  believe  he  has  a  brother  still  residing, 
ithout  making  an  exertion  to  see  it. 

Setting  off  at  8  A.M.  from  Edinburgh,  he  readied 
Lberdeen  after  twenty-one  hours  in  the  coach.  He 
left  to  return  the  next  day  ut  3  P.M.,  and  was  in 
Edinburgh  at  noon  the  day  following,  two  nights 
(forty-two  hours  in  all)  of  coach  travelling. 

At  Aberdeen  he  found  Dr.  Strachan's  brother, 
who  showed  him  over  the  Grammar  School,  where 
Dr.  Strachan  had  been  educated,  and  some  other 
places  in  the  town. 

I  recognised  a  little,  and  but  little,  of  his  brother's  manner 
in  him,  for  they  have  been  separated  nearly  twenty  years. 
After  a  good  deal  of  gossiping  on  subjects  equally  interesting, 
I  really  believe,  to  both  of  us,  he  led  me  round,  through  and 
about  Aberdeen. 

Dempsey^s  Inn,  at  which  I  stayed,  is  by  far  the  most  com- 
fortable lodging  in  every  way  that  I  have  found  in  Scotland — 
I  think  I  may  say  better  than  any  I  have  found  in  England. 
The  fish  here  is  delicious,  particularly  the  haddocks,  or,  as  the 
Scotch  call  them,  haddies. 


126    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Of  the  oatmeal  cake  he  found  in  Scotland,  he 
says : — 

I  like  it  very  much ;  I  tasted  some  in  England,  but  it  was 
soft,  tough,  and  sour.  The  Scotch  understand  it  better ;  theirs 
is  crisp  and  sweet. 

On  the  night  journey  from  Aberdeen  to  Edinburgh,  a 
gentleman  I  had  seen  at  breakfast  at  the  inn  insisted  on  my 
taking  his  large  greatcoat.  I  assure  you  \felt  his  kindness  all 
the  way  to  town,  for  in  this  northern  climate  a  night  on  the 
top  of  a  coach,  with  a  cold  wind  blowing  right  off  the  sea,  is 
not  at  all  delightful.  Another  insisted  on  my  putting  on  a 
pair  of  overalls  he  had  with  him,  part  of  his  old  military 
equipment,  and  pressed  it  with  so  much  anxiety  that  I  con- 
sented ;  and  thus,  equipped  by  subscription,  I  was  independent 
of  the  cold. 

*At  breakfast  my  obliging  friend  was  very  anxious  to  kno\ 
how  I  had  passed  the  night.  There  was  something  in  the  frank 
openness  of  his  manner  that  struck  me  very  forcibly  from  its 
resemblance  to  something  I  had  been  used  to,  and  I  could  not 
forbear  saying,  "  I  am  convinced,  sir,  from  your  manner  and 
voice,  that  I  have  travelled  before  now  with  some  near  relations 
of  yours  a  long  distance  from  hence — I  won't  ask  you  what 
your  name  is,  but  what  it  is  not.  It  is  not  Forsyth,  is  it  ?  w 
"  Yes,  sir,  my  name  is  Forsyth."  "  Have  you  not  some  bro  thers 
in  America  ?  "  "  No,  they  are  cousins ;  but  I  wonder  you  should 
have  been  so  much  struck  with  the  resemblance." 

I  had  been  intimate  with  several  of  his  family,  two  of 
whom,  when  I  was  a  schoolboy,  on  my  different  journeys  home 
during  the  vacation,  had  taken  the  same  care  of  me  that  he 
was  doing  now.  This  was  rather  a  singular  occurrence,  and 
has  been  a  fortunate  one  for  me,  as  he  is  as  kind  and  attentive 
as  the  oldest  friend  could  be,  and  knows  everything  and  every- 
body here  (Edinburgh),  for  he  was  educated  at  the  Edinburgh 
University,  and  has  hosts  of  friends  in  the  town.  He  and  I 
took  up  our  lodgings  at  M'Gregor's  Hotel  in  Princes  Street. 

%4<th  April. — Jeffrey l  had  begged  me  to  go  down  early  in 

1  Francis  Jeffrey,  afterwards  Lord  Jeffrey,  Judge  of  the  Court  of 
Session. 


; 


CAPTAIN   BARCLAY 


: 


e  day  to  see  him,  and  after  my  return  (from  Leith)  I  should 
have  gone,  but  Captain  Barclay,  the  gallant  and  unfortunate 
naval  officer,  who  lost  his  squadron  and  the  use  of  his  remain- 
ing arm  on  Lake  Erie  last  war,  did  me  the  favour  to  call,  and 
h.-ul  so  many  questions  to  ask  about  his  good  friends  in  Canada, 
that  I  could  not  easily  leave  before  three. 

The   British  squadron  on  Lake  Erie,  under  the 
command   of  Captain  R.    H.   Barclay,  was  after   a 
ost  gallant  contest  with  a  force  superior  in  guns 
and  men,  compelled  to  surrender  to  the  American 
fleet  on  the  10th  September  1813. 

^t  may  be  interesting  to  add  that  Captain  Barclay 
(as  well  as  Wilkie,  the  celebrated  painter),  had  been 
pupils  of  Dr.  Strachan  at  the  parish  school  of  Kettle 
before  the  latter  went  to  Canada./ 

My  father  had  brought  with  him  from  London 
letters  of  introduction  to  Mr.  Jeffrey,  mentioned 
above,  the  editor  of  the  Edinburgh  Review,  and  then 
one  of  the  recognised  leaders  of  Whig  society  in 
Edinburgh ;  and  also  (from  Campbell,  the  poet)  to 
Sir  Walter  (then  Mr.)  Scott. 

To  resume  from  my  father's  Journal : — 

Jeffrey  has  a  very  pretty  place  called  Craig's  Crook,  about 
three  miles  from  town,  which  he  has  taken  a  twenty  years'*  lease 
of.  Accompanied  by  Mrs.  Jeffrey,  we  took  a  long  walk  before 
dinner  around  the  estate.  It  commands  from  different  points 
charming  views  of  Edinburgh  and  the  Forth.  .  .  . 

Before  dinner  we  talked  of  Scotch  law  and  Scotch  Judges, 
Lord  Selkirk's  settlement,  &c.,  and  a  variety  of  matters.  With 
Mrs.  Jeffrey  I  was  rather  at  home,  for  she  is  from  New  York,1 
and  we  found  we  had  many  acquaintances  in  common. 

A  Mr.  Thomson,  editor  of  Burns's  poems,  Dr.  Gordon,  and 
a  brother  of  Mr.  Jeffrey's  dined  with  us. 

1  Mrs.  Jeffrey  was  a  Miss  \Vilkes,  of  New  York. 


128    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

I  had  heard  from  several  people  that  Jeffrey's  conversation 
was  like  a  well-written  book,  and  really  his  language  flows  from 
him  as  rapidly  and  as  naturally  as  the  Clyde  rolls  down  the 
Cora-Linn.  In  this  respect  he  is  a  curiosity.  But,  after  all, 
my  admiration  of  him  is  not  unbounded  ;  for,  between  ourselves, 
I  think  him  merely  a  clever  man,  and  should  be  sorry  to  be 
bound  by  his  judgment,  or  to  act  on  all  his  principles.  .  .  . 

.  .  .  Jeffrey  assured  me — and  no  one  can  know  better  than 
himself — that  the  public  have  that  opinion  of  Campbell's 
poetical  talents,  from  the  great  excellence  of  the  few  specimens 
he  has  given,  that  a  bookseller  would  give  4000  guineas  for  a 
poem  containing  200  pages  that  he  would  authenticate  with 
his  signature.  How  provoking  that  the  man  will  not  write, 
but  compile.  .  .  . 

After  three  or  four  days  spent  in  seeing  Edinburgh, 
he  writes : — 

I  had  thought  of  staying  here  till  Monday,  and  hearing  a 
sermon  on  Sunday  from  Mr.  Alison  l  at  the  Cowgate  Chapel, 
but  I  have  been  getting  more  and  more  impatient  every  half- 
hour  to  move  southwards,  and  have  just  determined  to  set  out 
at  eight  in  the  morning  for  Melrose.  .  .  . 

From  Melrose  he  walked  to  Abbotsford  (26th 
April  1817). 

I  set  off  with  Mr.  Campbell's  letter  and  my  Ben  Lomond 
stick  in  my  hand.  As  I  passed  a  stone  quarry  half  a  mile  from 
Abbotsford,  a  merry  simple-looking  Scotchman  jumped  out  of 
it,  left  his  work  and  followed  me,  eager  to  give  me  every 
information.  "This  place  belongs  to  Mr.  Scott,  doesn't  it?" 
"  Aye  sure,  Walter  Scott,  Walter  Scott." 

This  good  man  I  learnt  afterwards  was  Mr.  Tom  Purdie, 
the  "facetious  Tom  Purdie,"  as  his  master  called  him,  the 
poet's  factotum  and  superintendent  general. 

At  Abbotsford,  Mr.  Scott  came  in  saying : — 

"  It  gives  me  the  greatest  pleasure  at  all  times  to  see  a  friend 
of  Thomas  Campbell,  and  you  could  not  have  come  more 

1  The  Rev.  Archibald  Alison,  father  of  Sir  Archibald  Alison,  the  historian. 


5 


v  MELROSE— ABBOTSFORD  129 

opportunely,  for  we  are  just  sitting  down  to  dinner;  so  walk 
in  without  ceremony  and  sec-  what  we  have  got."  After  due 
expressions  of  extreme  regret  at  the  unseasonable  interruption, 
I  walked  in,  and  was  introduced  to  .Mrs.  Scott.  They  have 
merely  eome  here  themselyes  for  a  week  or  two,  leaving  their 
children  in  Edinburgh*  My  attention  was  rou.-ed  by  the  most 
striking  specimen  of  the  canine  tribe,  by  name  '4  Maida,"  tliat 
I  have  ever  seen,  a  mo^t  beautiful  and  immense  Highland  stag- 
hound,  with  close  hair  and  mane  like  a  lion,  'with  his  back 
six  inches  at  least  above  the  table,  and  larger  altogether  than 
a  Highland  steal. 

Greyhounds  were  xhncn  about  the  room,  and  Mrs.  Scott's 
vourite  spaniel  seemed  quite  to  fancy  himself  one  of  the 
company. 

Dinner  progressed  charmingly,  and  at  last,  when  Mrs.  Scott 
withdrew,  he  squared  round  to  the  lire  and  we  sat  down  to 
our  bottle  of  Madeira.  .  .  . 

His  conversation  is  that  of  a  plain,  unaffected,  thinking 
man,  as  remote  as  possible  from  anything  dogmatic  or  pedantic 
— full  of  information,  dealt  out  in  a  simple  easy  manner;  not 
like  .leHVcv's,  elegant,  refined,  unhesitating,  anil  almost  ora- 
torical; nor  playful,  pointed,  and  sparkling  like  Mr.  Campbell's. 

At  Sydenham,  besides  Mr.  Adams's  little  boys,  there  are 
often  other  children  in  the  room,  and  whenever  Mr.  Campbell 
opens  his  mouth,  their  own  conversation  is  suspended  at  once, 
and  they  all  look  at  him  with  a  spreading  grin,  sure  that 
something  is  coming  out  very  funny;  and  very  rarely  indeed 
does  he  close  his  mouth  without  affording  them  ample  excuse 
for  increasing  that  grin  to  a  titter. 

Mr.  Scott,  good-humoured,  and  replete  with  recollections  of 
every  kind,  and  drawn  from  every  source,  says  many  good 
things  in  a  plain  way,  and  whenever  he  describes  reminds  you 
of  some  of  his  poems,  giving  you  all  the  little  traits,  the  com- 
bination of  which  makes  up  the  picture,  with  such  striking  and 
felicitous  minuteness  that  if  you  look  at  him  and  watch  his 
countenance  and  manner  you  fancy  you  are  looking  at  the 
picture  he  is  drawing. 

I  shall  never  forget  his  description  of  one  of  Bird's  paint- 

T 


130    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

ings  which  he  once  saw,  and  which  struck  his  fancy,  called 
"The  Arrival  of  Good  News."  He  put  himself  into  all  the 
attitudes,  and  assumed  the  different  characters  of  every  figure 
in  the  curious  group.  The  post-boy  chuckling  as  he  took  his 
dram  ;  the  drunken  old  soldier ;  the  country  lads  quizzing  him 
behind  his  back ;  the  old  village  politician  who  had  hold  of  the 
important  Gazette,  and  was  reading  it  aloud  to  the  company, 
very  much  annoyed  by  the  officiousness  of  his  next  neighbour, 
who  as  fast  as  he  read  the  news,  was  bawling  it  into  the  ear  of 
a  deaf  man,  whose  stupid  stare  and  bewildered  eye  showed  how 
imperfectly  he  caught  it.  ... 

As  we  dined  early  he  took  me  out  afterwards  over  his 
estate.  After  a  long  walk  ^about  the  fields  and  along  the 
river,  suspended  to  point  out  many  projected  improvements, 
and  to  tell  at  greater  ease  many  a  good  story,  and  now  and 
then  to  use  the  little  ivory  whistle  in  calling  the  greyhounds 
from  worrying  the  hares  which  abound  in  the  plantations,  we 
returned  homewards,  and  took  a  minute  survey  of  the  new 
addition  which  is  building,  and  which,  when  finished,  will  form 
in  fact  the  principal  part  of  the  house.  "  I  managed  a  long 
time,""  he  said,  "  with  the  rooms  I  am  in,  till  one  day  last 
summer,  Sir  Henry  M'Dougairs  fat  butler  actually  stuck  fast 
between  the  table  and  the  wall,  and  then  I  thought  it  high 
time  to  think  of  enlarging."" 

He  is  putting  up  a  dining-room  of  27  by  17,  which,  except 
in  cases  of  an  extravagant  kind,  will  prevent  any  similar 
accidents  in  future.  .  .  . 

He  had  told  me  while  we  were  walking  that  I  must  stay  all 
night,  so  I  made  myself  easy  for  the  evening,  and  it  was  spent 
in  the  most  sociable  and  familiar  manner  possible. 

The  poet  went  over  all  his  peregrinations  in  the  Netherlands 
and  France  in  1814,  and  related  all  the  particulars  of  his  visit 
to  Waterloo  three  weeks  after  the  battle.  It  pleased  me  to 
find  that  in  going  over  the  same  country,  he  was  most  struck, 
and  dwelt  with  most  enthusiasm  on  the  very  two  things  that 
had  made,  and  have  left,  the  strongest  impression  on  my  own 
mind — the  Cathedral  at  Antwerp,  and  the  view  from  the 
terrace  of  St.  Germain.  , 


v         JEFFREY,   SCOTT,   CAMPBELL        131 

I  Ie  told  me  that  if  I  would  spend  another  day  with  him,  he 
would  take  me  to  see  some  little  lake  in  the  vicinity,  which  he 
seemed  to  admire,  but  I  was  sensible  my  visit  must  be  an 
intrusion,  and  felt  it  a  duty  to  lessen  as  much  as  possible  the 
sum  of  the  evil.  .  .  .  The  next  morning  I  set  out  on  my  return 
to  Melrose,  accompanied  by  my  kind  host,  who  walked  a  great 
part  of  the  way  with  me ;  and  at  parting  begged  me  when  I 
saw  Mr.  Campbell  to  remember  me  most  kindly  to  him,  and 
tell  him  "how  extremely  thankful  he  was  to  him  for  affording 
him  an  opportunity  of  seeing  me."  (Vidi — /  have  seen;  I 
thought  to  myself.) 

As  my  father  was  only  a  young  man  when  he 
wrote  the  above  as  to  Jeffrey,  Scott,  and  Campbell, 
and  his  acquaintance,  with  the  two  former  at  all 
events,  was  but  a  slight  travelling  one,  it  is  interest- 
ing to  compare  the  impressions  set  down  in  his 
Journal  with  those  penned  by  one  l  who  knew  them 
intimately  ;  and  which  I  give  below  : — 

I  saw  much  (during  the  winter  of  1816-17)  of  the  Whig 
society  of  Edinburgh,  which  at  that  period  enjoyed  a  high, 
and  in  some  respects  a  deserved  reputation.  .  .  . 

There  was  considerable  cleverness,  much  fun,  and  great 
bonhomie  and  joviality  in  this  society,  and  at  Craigcrook  in 
particular  (Jeffrey^  country  house  near  Edinburgh),  where 
Jeffrey  gave  vent  to  the  kindliness  of  his  disposition,  and  the 
rich  How  of  his  talk,  nothing  could  be  more  fascinating  than 
the  conversation  which  frequently  prevailed.  .  .  . 

Sir  Walter  Scott's  memory  was  extraordinary,  as  it  is  in 
almost  all  men  of  the  highest  intellectual  character ;  his  power 
of  observation  perhaps  unrivalled ;  his  humour  great.  The 
whole  stores  of  his  mind  thus  acquired,  relating  chiefly  to  men, 
manners,  and  former  customs  or  events,  were  poured  out  in 
company,  or  in  his  own  house,  with  great  power  of  narrative 
and  with  infinite  humour  and  effect.  But  the  greater  part  of 

1  Sir  Archibald  Alison. 


132    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

the  charm  which  captivated  all  who  approached  him,  lay  in  the 
manner  of  telling.  .  .  . 

In  ordinary  society  Campbell  did  not  appear  by  any  means 
to  the  same  advantage  as  Jeffrey,  though  he  possessed  incom- 
parably more  genius  and  sensibility.  The  former  made  no 
attempt  at  display  in  conversation,  but  the  occasional  splendid 
expression,  the  frequent  tear  in  the  eye,  bespoke  the  profound 
emotion  which  was  felt.  The  latter  spoke  lightly  and  felici- 
tously on  every  subject— with  equal  facility  he  could  descant 
on  literature,  philosophy,  poetry,  politics,  or  the  arts ;  but  the 
very  copiousness  of  the  stream,  and  the  readiness  with  which  it 
was  poured  forth  on  all  occasions,  proved  that  no  reluctance 
was  felt  at  unlocking  its  fountains,  and  that  they  lay  near 
the  surface.  No  deep  wells  of  thought  or  feeling  existed  in 
Jeffrey.  .  .  .* 

My  father  always  looked  back  with  pleasure  to 
his  having  met  Scott  and  Campbell.  Engravings  of 
both,  that  of  the  latter  given  to  him  by  Campbell, 
hung  in  his  library  at  Beverley  House. 

From  Melrose,  after  seeing  the  ruins  of  the  Abbey, 
he  returned  to  London,  via  Kelso,  Berwick,  Alnwick, 
Newcastle,  Durham,  York,  and  Cambridge,  stopping 
a  little  time  at  some  of  these  places. 

The  town  of  Kelso  I  am  in  raptures  with,  and  really 
believe  I  should  choose  it  for  a  summer's  retirement  in  pre- 
ference to  anything  I  remember  in  England  or  Scotland.  It 
is  a  fine,  clean  little  town.  The  Tweed  and  Teviot  abound  in 
trout,  and  the  walks  around  are  not  to  be  surpassed  in  beauty 
and  pleasantness. 

At  Alnwick  he  had  friends  in  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Smith, 
and  Major  and  Mrs.  Derenzy.2 

1  Autobiography  of  Sir  Archibald  Alison,  by  Lady  Alison  (1883). 

2  A  sister  of  Mrs.  Smith  was  married  to  Colonel  Pilkington,  R.E., 
whom  my  father  often  saw  at  Woolwich.     Major  Derenzy  had  served  in 
the  41st  Regiment  in  Canada  in  the  War  of  1812-15. 


v  ALNWICE— LONDON 

It  was  rather  odd,  and  rather  fortunate,  that  my  clever 
calculations  should  have  brought  me  to  AInwick  on  the  very 
day  on  which  Lord  Percy  was  married.  The  ceremony,  as  you 
know,  took  j) lace  yesterday  in  London  (2!)th  April  1S17),  but 
it  was  celebrated  at  Alnwick  by  the  usual  rejoicings. 

The  Duke's  tenants  began  to  assemble  at  an  early  hour  in 
the  market-place,  where  an  ox  was  put  on  about  ten  o'clock  to 
roast  for  their  repast  in  the  afternoon.  This  was  the  first  ox 
I  had  ever  seen  roasted  whole. 

.  .  .  When  Mr.  Smith  gave  the  signal,  about  a  do/en 
butchers  hewed  this  great  ox  to  pieces  on  a  scaffold  in  the 
centre  of  the  market-place,  and  it  was  then  thrown  in  bits 
among  the  crowd.  Several  cartloads  of  rolls  were  disposed  of 
in  the  same  way,  and  about  1200  quarts  of  ale  were  distributed. 

He  wus  much  struck  with  King's  College, 
Cambridge. 

The  ornamental   Gothic  carving  of  the   interior   is  inex- 

ibly    rich.       The   addition    of  the   Crown    to   the  UMial 

Gothic  ornaments  of  the   Rose   and  Portcullis  has  the  finest 
possible  effect. 

On  the  6th  May  he  returned  to  London,  having 
had  most  exceptionally  fine  weather  throughout  his 
tour. 

It  may  be  a  century  before  the  month  of  April  will  be 
found  so  propitious  to  the  vagabond  life  I  have  been  leading. 
Not  a  town  have  I  seen  whose  streets  were  not  dry,  not  a  lake 
or  landscape  on  which  the  sun  was  not  shining,  nor,  except  the 
snow-storm  on  Helvellvn,  did  I  ever  ascend  an  eminence  to 
view  the  prospect  it  commanded,  without  enjoying  it  to  its 
utmost  limit,  unobscured  by  fog  or  clouds.  .  .  . 

His  Journal  closes  with  this  entry  : — 
17/7?  Mat/  1817. — Poole  England,1  now  a  reduced  Captain 
1  Seepage  113. 


134    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

of  Artillery,  breakfasted  with  me.     Our  first  meeting  since  we 
were  children. 

When  not  long  after  this  my  father  returned  to 
Canada,  it  can  be  gathered  from  the  preceding 
chapters  that  his  experience,  both  professionally  and 
generally,  during  the  five  years  which  had  elapsed 
since  the  breaking  out  of  the  War  of  1812,  had  been 
of  a  more  varied  kind  than  was  usual  at  his  age. 
Soon  after  the  war  he  had  been  placed  in  a  post 
where  he  had  both  work  and  responsibility  thrown 
upon  him,  and  had  been  compelled  to  decide  and 
act  for  himself.  This,  with  what  he  had  afterwards 
seen  of  the  world,  was  no  doubt  of  much  service 
to  him. 


CHAPTER   VI 

MARRIAGE— APPOINTED  ATTORNEY-GENERAL—WORK 
AT  THE  BAR  AND  IN  THE  HOUSE  OF  ASSEMBLY 

1817-23 

Marriage—  Return  to  Canada  —  Appointed  Attorney-General  —  Letters 
from  Sir  F.  Robinson,  Sir  (Jordon  Druinmond,  and  others—  ( 'ontest 
between  Lord  Selkirk  and  the  \orth-\\  t^L  (  ompany— Appointed  to 
repre<ent  York  (Toronto)  in  the  House  of  Assembly — Sent  as  Com- 
missioner to  Kngland  on  the  Mihjt-ot  of  the  fiscal  relations  hetween 
I'pper  and  Lourr  (  anada  — Addre-s  of  both  Houses  with  re-prct 
to  this  Called  to  the  Knirli^h  liar  -Interest  in  emigration — De- 
clines Brants  of  (iovernment  land,  and  the  Chief  Justiceship  of 
Mauritius,  Arc.--- Advocates  a  confederation  of  all  the  British  Ameri- 
can Provinces— Sir  1*.  Maitlaml  — Mr.  Copley— The  Duke  of  Welling- 
ton— Urged  by  Dr.  Strachau  to  remain  permanently  in  England — 
Return  to  Canada. 

ON  the  5th  June  1817,  my  father  was  married  to 
Emma  Walker *  at  the  New  Church  of  St.  Maryle- 
bone  in  London. 

About  two  months  afterwards,  on  1st  August 
1817,  they  sailed  for  Canada,  and  after  an  exceed- 
ingly bad  and  long  voyage  reached  York  on  1st 
November,  and  settled  down  at  Beverley  House,2 
which  had  been  purchased  from  Mr.  D'Arcy  Boul- 
ton,  who  built  it  at  some  date  previous  to  the 
breaking  out  of  the  War  of  1812-15. 

In  this  house,  subsequently  enlarged,  they  lived 
until  their  death,  and  here  all  their  children  were 
born.3 

1  The  daughter  of  Charles  Walker,  Esq.,  of  Harlesden,  Middlesex, 
whose  sister  Elizabeth  had  married  Mr.  William  Merry,  and  brought  up 
this  niece  a  great  deal  with  her  own  family. 

8  Where  my  brother,  Christopher  Robinson,  now  lives. 

3  See  Appendix  B.,  V. 

135 


136    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Before  he  reached  York  a  vacancy  had  occurred 
on  the  Bench  in  Upper  Canada,  which  led  to  the 
appointment  of  Mr.  Boulton,  then  Attorney-General, 
to  a  Judgeship,  and  my  father  was  nominated  to 
succeed  him  as  Attorney- General,  his  commission 
being  dated  llth  February  1818. 

The  following  letter  from  Sir  Gordon  Drummond 
to  the  Under-Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies 
recommends  him  for  this  post  in  succession  to  Mr. 
Boulton  :— 

BATH,  26th  March  1817. 

DEAR  SIR, — Having  just  been  informed  that  an  application 
has  recently  been  made  by  Mr.  Boulton,  the  Attorney-General 
of  Upper  Canada,  to  be  promoted  to  the  vacant  seat  on  the 
Bench  in  that  province  ;  and  that  a  communication  has  been 
forwarded  to  His  Majesty's  Government  by  Lieutenant- 
Governor  Gore  recommendatory  of  that  measure,  I  beg  leave 
to  remind  you  of  an  interview  I  had  the  pleasure  of  having 
with  you  some  time  since,  in  which  I  urged  the  appointment 
of  Mr.  Robinson,  the  Solicitor-General  of  Upper  Canada,  to 
the  situation  of  Attorney- General  in  the  event  of  Mr.  Boulton 
vacating  that  office. 

It  is  with  peculiar  satisfaction  that  I  avail  myself  of  this 
opportunity  of  bearing  testimony  to  the  distinguished  talents 
of  Mr.  Robinson,  which  were  frequently  displayed  while  he  was 
acting  Attorney-General  at  the  period  of  my  administering 
the  government  of  Upper  Canada,  in  successfully  conducting  a 
great  number  of  trials  for  high  treason,  as  well  as  in  frustrat- 
ing several  perplexing  prosecutions  for  trespass,  &c.,  which 
were  brought  by  some  troublesome  disaffected  individuals 
against  the  Government  whilst  exercising  the  powers  they 
were  compelled  to  assume  in  defence  of  the  province. 

And  I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  that  should  the  pro- 
motion of  this  gentleman  to  the  vacant  office  of  Attorney- 
General  be  deemed  expedient  by  Earl  Bathurst,  he  will  fulfil 
the  duties  of  that  appointment  with  no  less  credit  to  himself 


vi          MADE   ATTORNEY-GENERAL        I;IT 

than  advantage  to  the  public-  service.  —  I  have  the  honour  to 
>,  dear  Sir,  your  most  obedient  humble  servant, 

GORDON  DKCMMOND. 
H.  Goi  LIU  UN,  Ks(jiiirc, 

I  'luk'r-Sccrct.-iry  of  State  for  the  Colonies. 

The  letters  below  are  also  of  this  period  (1817-1  8). 

From  Sir  Frederick  liulnnxon  l  to  J.  B.  Robinson  (alluding 
to  h'ut  Marriage). 

TOBAGO,  30th  August  1817. 

My   congratulations  will   come  on  a   day  after  the  usual 
:ime,  but  nevertheless   I   will   congratulate  you   with   all  my 
•art,  and   hearty   wishes  for  a  long  continuance  of  domestic 
lappiness  to  you  and    vour    wife.     I   wish   I  could   witness  it 
personally,  but  I  fear  you  will  have  returned  to  Canada  long 
before  I  shall  be  able  to  leave  this  for  England. 

Were  I  in  any  other  country  or  climate  than  this,  I  would 
ideavour  to  bribe  you  to  come  to  me,  but  as  it  is  I  cannot 
mture. 

I  will,  however,  tell  you  that  there  is  no  great  improbability 
of  my  having  a  situation  in  the  land  to  dispose  of;  and,  at  all 
events,  if  any  young  lawyer  would  come  well  introduced  to  me, 
I  would  ensure  him  a  large  and  rapid  fortune,  there  being  a 
press  of  business  with  very  high  fees.  It  is  more  than  probable 
that  you  have  seen  my  daughters  Annie  and  Augusta  2  on  their 
return  to  England.  They  will  give  you  a  full  account  of  this 
island.  \Ve  never  have  a  headache  among  us,  and  begin  to 
think  people  may  vegetate  here  as  well  as  in  other  countri 

Pray  present  my  most  affectionate  regards  \\ith  those  of  my 
daughters  to  your  wife.  We  do  most  sincerely  \\i>h  you  every 
happiness.  Remember  us  also  most  kindly  to  the  Merry  s. 

From  Elizabeth  (Mrs.  William')  Merry  to  Emma  RobtMOn. 

tiowr.u  fan  i:r.  -2Wfi  ^'ni-t-nihcr  1817. 

MY  VERY  DEAR  EMMA,  —  The  view  of  your  handwriting  was 


1  Then  Governor 

2  Annie  married  the  Ro\  i>ivtid  \\'.    Wilson,   but   left   no   children  ; 
Augusta  died  unmarried  in  Tobago. 


138    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

the  most  delightful  sight  I  have  beheld  for  a  length  of  time. 
There  seemed  to  be  no  end  to  the  week  after  week  without  a 
line  from  you,  the  latest  intelligence  being  from  the  Downs  the 
4th  August. 

But  that  is  over,  and  your  delightfully  welcome  packet 
came  to  hand  on  the  10th,  and  I  rejoice  to  hear  you  are  happily 
arrived  after  your  dreadful  voyage. 

...  It  is  well  there  are  some  few  years  between  now  and 
the  time  you  talked  of  again  coming  to  England,  as  I  fear, 
with  the  present  impression  on  your  mind,  your  inclination 
would  not  lead  you  to  encounter  again  what  you  must  have 
suffered.  .  .  . 

From  Sir  Frederick  Robinson  to  J.  B.  Robinson. 

TOBAGO,  7th  July  1818. 

.  .  .  We  are  all  anxious  to  hear  from  you,  and  to  know 
the  truth  of  the  report  of  a  young  Attorney-General *  having 
arrived  to  assist  you  in  your  office. 

...  If  this  should  ever  reach  you,  pray  lose  no  time  in 
giving  me  a  particular  account  of  yourself  and  family,  together 
with  one  of  my  quondam  Government,  which  I  am  still  as  much 
interested  in  as  ever.  Let  me  know  what  changes  have  taken 
place  and  how  things  are  going  on,  dwelling  a  little  on  the 
settlement  on  the  Rideau,  as  well  as  that  at  the  head  of  the 
Bay  of  Quinte. 

I  shall  never  be  so  interested  in  any  Government  as  I  was 
in  that  of  Upper  Canada.  There  was  much  to  be  done,  and 
everything  was  interesting. 

We  have  read  a  great  deal  in  the  papers  about  Lord 
Selkirk's  affair,2  which  is  as  extraordinary  a  case  as  ever 
appeared  in  the  history  of  new  settlers.  It  appears  in  a 
different  complexion,  I  think,  to  what  it  did  when  I  first 
heard  of  it. 

My  whole  flock  unite  in  best  regards  to  you  and  yours. 


1  Alludes  to  the  birth  of  James  Lukin  Robinson,  born  27th  March 
1818. 

2  See  following  pages  as  to  this. 


vi     LORD  SELKIRK  &  THE  N.-WEST     139 

hope  your  wife  will  enter  into  a  correspondence  or  rather 
renew  one  with  my  daughter  Maria,1  and  I  trust  I  shall  soon 
r  from  you. 

For  the  next  few  years  my  father's  work  at  the 
and  in  the  House  of  Assembly,  as  Attorney- 
reneral,  and  also  Member  for  York  (now  Toronto), 

he  became  in  1821,  was  hard  and  constant. 
Legal  proceedings  of  a  troublesome   kind  grew 
it  of  serious  disturbances  which  had  taken  place 
the   North- West   Territory  of   Canada   between 
ic     Hudson's    Bay    and    the    North  -  West     Fur 
Yading  Companies  in  the  years  1815,  '16,  and  '17, 
ie   former   of  these   having   claimed  the   right   to 
irtain  tracts  of  land  and  exclusive  trading  in  them 
>t  admitted  by  the  latter. 

The    fiscal    relations   also    between    Upper   and 
>wer   Canada  became  strained,  which  led  to    my 
ither  being  sent  to  England  as  Commissioner  with 
spect  to  them,  and  he  was  then  able  to  complete 
his  terms  and  be  called  to  the  English  Bar. 

Proposals  for  the  union  of  the  two  Canadas, 
and  also  of  all  the  British  American  Provinces, 
were  raised  when  he  was  in  England,  and  he  then 
advocated  the  latter  measure  to  the  utmost  of  his 
power. 

The  question  of  emigration  to  Canada  was  one 
which  much  interested  him  ;  and  with  respect  to  his 
work  altogether  within  the  period  between  1818  and 
1823  he  thus  refers  in  his  Memorandum : — 

I  had  now  some  responsible  and  difficult  duties  to 
discharge. 


1  Afterwards  Mrs.  Hamilton  Hamilton,  married  to  Hamilton  C.  J. 
Hamilton    Esq.,  of  the  Diplomatic  Service,  and  died  at  Brighton  in  1884. 


140    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Large  estates  had  been  forfeited  to  the  Crown  by  the 
treason  of  their  possessors  ;  and  many  more,  under  a  provincial 
statute,  by  the  owners  abandoning  the  province  during  the 
war  and  withdrawing  to  the  United  States.  I  had  to  frame 
the  statute  for  vesting  these  estates  in  commission,  providing 
for  the  satisfaction  of  all  lawful  claims  upon  them,  and  for  the 
sale  of  the  estates  and  appropriation  of  the  proceeds. 

The  contest  between  Lord  Selkirk  and  the  North- West 
Company  in  the  Hudson's  Bay  territory  occasioned  great 
disturbance,  many  acts  of  violence,  and  some  bloodshed,  in 
the  years  1815,  1816,  1817.  The  offences  committed  there 
were,  under  a  British  Act  of  Parliament,  made  triable  in 
Upper  Canada.  This  threw  upon  me,  as  Attorney-General, 
a  responsible  and  arduous  duty.  Many  indictments  had  been 
preferred  at  the  instance  of  Lord  Selkirk  against  partners, 
clerks,  and  servants  of  the  North- West  Company  for  alleged 
felonies,  which,  under  the  statute  I  have  referred  to,  were  sent 
to  Upper  Canada  to  be  tried.  These  were  disposed  of  at  our 
ordinary  criminal  court. 

The  Royal  Commissioners  sent  into  the  Indian  territory 
had  collected  an  immense  mass  of  evidence,  and  made  a  report, 
which  furnished  the  foundation  of  my  proceedings. 

Lord  Selkirk  had  been,  in  his  youth,  brought  up  to  the 
legal  profession ;  and  he  assumed  very  much  to  control  the 
conduct  of  such  criminal  proceedings  as  he  desired  should  be 
instituted  on  his  behalf  against  the  agents  and  servants  of  the 
North- West  Company.  He  seemed  to  have  been,  in  a  great 
degree,  permitted  to  do  so  in  Lower  Canada,  but  in  Upper 
Canada  I  declined  to  allow  any  further  interference  with  my 
discretion  and  duties  as  public  prosecutor  than  appeared  to  me 
to  belong  properly  to  his  position  as  a  complainant. 

The  North- West  Company,  on  their  part,  complained  of 
many  illegal  acts  committed  against  them,  some  of  them  of  a 
most  extraordinary  character;  but  they  were  content  to  leave 
the  method  of  dealing  with  them  to  the  proper  public  autho- 
rities, without  attempting  to  dictate. 

On  a  view  of  the  whole  immense  mass  of  evidence,  it 
appeared  to  me  to  be  obviously  the  proper  course,  instead  of 


vi     LORD  SELKIRK  &  THE  X.-WEST     141 

indicting,  as  Lord  Selkirk  desired  me,  for  murder  and  larceny 
and  arson,  to  look  upon  all  tliat  had  been  done  by  his  Lordship 
and  his  associates,  in  a  high-handed  contest  of  this  nature,  as 
so  many  efforts  on  their  part  to  ruin  their  opponents,  hy  pos- 

:  ig  themselves  of  their  effects  and  supplanting  them  in  their 
trade.  I  accordingly  presented  an  indictment  of  that  charac- 
prepared  after  much  labour  and  with  great  care. 

The  efforts  of  his  Lordship  to  prevent  the  bill  being  found 
bv  the  (Irand  Jury  were  in  every  point  of  view  extraordinary, 

Ewciv  unsuccessful. 
Nevertheless,  as  soon  as  the  indictment  was  found,   Lord 
\irk,  instead  of  remaining  to  abide   his  trial,  withdrew  to 
Knglund,  where  lie  addressed  to  the   Government,'  and    made 
in  his    place    in   Parliament,  the   most  ungenerous  complaints 
against    the   (Government   of  this   province,  and    especially   the 
Attorney-General,  whom  he  charged  with  all  kinds  of  injustice 
oppression. 

This  occasioned  a  call  from  the  Secretary  of  State  upon  the 
Governor,  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland,  for  a  full  report  of  all  that 

ken  place  in  the  proceedings  within  his  Government. 
It  became  my  duty  to  furnish  this,  and   I   wa^  happy  in 
being  called   upon  to  do  so.   though  the    details   filled   eighty 
.  besides  a  large  appendix,  in  which,  among  other  things, 
the    whole  correspondence    that    had    taken    place    with   Lord 
Selkirk  was  inserted. 

Not  long  after,1  Lord  Selkirk  died,  one  consequence  of 
which  I  could  not  but  regret,  for  nothing  more  was  ever  heard 
in  Parliament  upon  the  subject,  and  all  that  had  been  made 
public  was  his  Lordship's  unfounded  accusation.  The  state- 
ments and  proof's  by  which  its  injustice  was  exposed  never  went 
out  of  the  Colonial  Office. 

These  proceedings  kept  me  laboriously  employed  for  many 
months,  and  they  compelled  me  to  relinquish  one  of  my 
ordinary  circuits.  I  confined  myself  to  the  official  scale  of 
charge  for  ordinary  prosecutions,  according  to  which  the 


1  Lord  Selkirk  died  at  Pau,  8th  April  1820,  having  gone  there  from 
England  in  bad  health. 


142    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 


indictment  for  conspiracy  stood  in  my  account  charged  at 
which  probably  did  not  pay  for  the  parchment  on  which  it  was 
engrossed,  and  all  that  I  did  in  the  whole  of  these  prosecutions 
did  not  impose  upon  the  Government  any  greater  burthen,  nor 
produce  to  myself  any  greater  recompense,  than  about  =£40, 
which,  I  think,  did  not  reimburse  what  I  had  expended  in 
stationery,  postage,  and  copying  clerks.  I  mention  this  not  as 
giving  me  any  ground  of  complaint  against  the  Government. 
If  I  had  applied  for  a  more  adequate  remuneration,  it  would 
not  have  been  refused,  but  I  abstained  from  doing  so,  perhaps 
foolishly. 

Before  passing  on  to  other  matters,  I  will  sup- 
plement my  father's  references  to  the  disturbances 
in  the  North-  West  Territory  by  a  fuller  explanation 
of  what  had  occurred  there  ;  and  close  with  a  letter 
he  received  from  the  Secretary  of  State  for  the 
Colonies  in  May  1819  in  connection  with  these 
events. 

The  contests  which  took  place  in  the  years  1815, 
1816,  and  1817  between  the  rival  Hudson's  Bay 
and  North  -West  Companies  recall  the  warfare 
on  the  Scotch  and  English  borders  in  the  Middle 
Ages. 

Lord  Selkirk  had,  in  1812,  formed  a  settlement 
at  Red  River,  on  land  conveyed  to  him  by  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company.1 

Between  this  Company  and  the  North-  West 
Company  of  Montreal,  there  was,  no  doubt,  inde- 
pendently of  any  action  on  Lord  Selkirk's  part, 
commercial  rivalry  —  if  not  enmity. 

Both  Companies  had  arms  and  fortified  posts,  for 

security   against   Indians   and    the    safety   of   their 

- 

1  Consisting  of  large  tracts  over  which,  before  his  acquirement  of  the 
land,  the  North-  West  Company  had,  it  is  stated,  comparative  freedom  in 
hunting,  &c.—  (See  "  Dictionary  of  National  Biography"—"  Selkirk.") 


JL/Ul 

r 


vi     LORD  SELKIRK  &  THE  N.-WEST 

goods  ;  and  in  1813,  after  war  had  broken  out  with 
the  United  States,  arms,  ammunition,  and  a  lew 
light  field-pieces  were  granted  by  Government  to 
Lord  Selkirk  for  the  defence  of  his  settlement,  which 
later  on  joined  by  a  body  of  disbanded  soldiers 
of  the  regiments  of  De  Mcuron  and  \Vatteville. 

The  Earl  of  Selkirk  occupied  a  peculiar  position 

the  North-West  Territory.  His  high  rank,  his 
thority  as  chief  of  the  settlement,  and  his  status 

a  magistrate  —  enabling  him  to  issue  his  own 
arrants — all  combined  to  give  him  an  exceptional 
influence  and  power  in  the  country.  Apparently, 
the  North- West  Company  did  not  so  much  harbour 
grievances  against  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  as 
against  him,  one  of  the  partners  of  the  former  com- 
pany speaking  of  the  committee  of  the  latter  as 
being  a  "  mere  machine  in  the  hands  of  Lord  Sel- 
kirk," whose  influence  was  said  to  be  a  controlling 
one. 

The  interests  of  bond  fide  agricultural  settlers 
would  doubtless  be  fairly  opposed  in  some  respects 
to  those  of  a  fur-trading  company;  and  in  a  wild 
country,  such  as  the  North-West  then  was,  those 
who,  like  Lord  Selkirk,  have  authority  and  power 
must  not  hesitate  to  put  down  outrages  with  a 
strong  hand ;  but  what  the  North- West  Company 
complained  of  was  that  Lord  Selkirk's  settlers  and 
followers  were  virtually  traders  themselves,  conspir- 
ing by  every  means  to  compass  their  ruin,  and  that 
his  authority  was  oppressively  exercised  to  interested 
ends. 

It  can  be  readily  understood  how  in  this  situation 
of  affairs,  bitter  hostility,  followed  by  armed  conflict 
and  crime,  soon  grew  up,  and  plunged  the  country 


144    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

into  what  was  little  short  of  a  state  of  constant  war, 
extending  over  three  years. 

Without  entering  in  detail  into  the  accusations 
made  on  each  side,  it  may  be  mentioned  that  the 
adherents  of  the  North- West  Company  charged  Lord 
Selkirk  and  his  followers  with,  among  other  violent 
acts,  forcibly  occupying  their  post  at  Fort  William, 
under  a  warrant  granted  by  Lord  Selkirk  himself, 
remaining  in  possession  some  months,  imprisoning 
their  officials,  and  robbing  them  of  eighty-three 
muskets. 

On  the  other  hand,  Lord  Selkirk  asserted  that 
the  North- West  Company  had  employed  against  his 
settlement  field-guns  robbed  from  the  stores  of  the 
colony,  been  guilty  of  the  massacre  of  Governor 
Semple  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  and  some  of 
his  men  at  Red  River — who  had  been  killed  in  one 
of  the  raids  which  had  taken  place — and  were  bent 
upon  the  destruction  of  his  settlers,  which  rendered 
this  seizure  of  their  post  and  of  their  arms  justifiable. 
He  brought  in  fact  charges  of  murder,  burglary,  and 
arson — ah1  capital  offences  at  that  time. 

At  one  period  Lord  Selkirk  arrested  some  of  the 
partners  of  the  North- West  Company,  sending  them 
down  to  Montreal ;  and  at  another  he  refused  to 
submit  to  the  execution  of  a  legal  warrant  served  on 
himself,  and  imprisoned  the  officer  serving  it. 

This  latter  act  resulted  in  positive  instructions 
from  the  Secretary  of  State  in  England  that  the 
Crown  officers  in  Canada  should  prosecute  him  for 
this  open  defiance  of  the  law. 

Eventually  an  indictment  was  preferred  before  a 
Grand  Jury  at  Sandwich,  in  the  Western  district, 
against  the  Earl  and  others  for  resisting  the  execu- 


vi      LORD  SELKIRK  &  THE  N.-WEST      145 

tion  of  u  legal  warrant,  and  other  offences.  The 
contests  had  caused  much  excitement,  and  roused  a 
great  deal  of  partisan  feeling  throughout  the  country. 
While  the  charges  were  pending  and  before  the  jury, 
efforts  were  made  (to  what  my  father  considered  a 
highly  reprehensible  extent),  by  the  publication  of 
one-sided  accounts  in  pamphlets,  &c.,  which  were 
circulated  with  mischievous  industry,  to  bias  public 
feeling,  and  discredit  the  testimony  of  those  who 
would  be  witne- 

In  one  of  these,  issued  by  Lord  Selkirk's  side, 
appeared  copies  of  all  depositions  of  importance 
which  Lord  Selkirk  or  other  magistrates  had  taken 
for  the  prosecution  of  various  other  charges,  for  which 
men  were  afterwards  to  be  tried  for  their  li 

The  Judges  and  the  Crown  officers  were  freely 
aspersed,  and  accused  of  partiality  or  incompetence. 

After  sitting  for  four  days  the  jury  could  not 
agree,  and  although  the  Bill  was  not  thrown  out,  the 
.Judge  then  decided  to  adjourn  the  Court  shic  die. 

In  October  1818  prisoners  accused  by  Lord 
Selkirk  of  the  gravest  crimes  were  tried  at  York, 
and  acquitted ;  and  in  two  civil  actions  brought 
against  the  Earl  for  false  imprisonment  verdicts 
and  substantial  damages  were  obtained  by  the  com- 
plainants. 

In  1819,  although  a  bill  of  indictment  had  not 
been  found  at  Sandwich  against  Lord  Selkirk  and 
others,  one  was  so  at  York  ;  but,  as  explained  by  my 
father,  owing  to  the  withdrawal  of  the  Earl  to 
England,  his  death,  and  other  causes,  the  grounds  of 
the  prosecution  were  never  very  thoroughly  under- 
stood by  the  general  public.  The  accusations  on 
both  sides  which  had  to  be  investigated  were 

K 


146    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

numerous  and  intricate,  and  their  examination  must 
have  been  very  tedious  and  difficult. 

Lord  Selkirk's  own  statement  of  his  case  is  con- 
tained in  a  letter  to  the  Earl  of  Liverpool,  dated 
19th  March  1819,  and  published,  together  with  a  cor- 
respondence which  went  on  between  his  brother-in- 
law,  J.  Halkett,  Esq.,  and  the  Colonial  Office,  in  the 
years  1817,  1818,  and  1819,  upon  the  subject  of  the 
Red  River  Settlement. 

Whatever  may  have  been  his  responsibility  for 
the  occurrences  in  the  North- West  Territory,  he  was 
an  active  coloniser,  and  did  much  for  emigration  and 
the  settlement  of  Prince  Edward's  Island  and  the 
North- West  ;  and  one  must  sincerely  regret  that  he 
became  involved  in  these  disturbances,  of  which  the 
turmoil  and  worry  only  closed  with  his  life. 

The  end  of  all  these  troubles  was  that,  not  long 
after  his  death,  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  and  the 
North- West  Company  amalgamated. 

The  following  letter  from  the  Secretary  of  State 
for  the  Colonies  to  the  Lieutenant-Governor  of 
Upper  Canada  expresses  the  opinion  of  the  Crown 
as  to  the  manner  in  which  my  father  had  dis- 
charged his  duty  as  Attorney- General  in  connection 
with  the  above  events  : — 

DOWNING  STREET,  llth  May  1819. 

SIR, — I  have  had  the  honour  of  receiving  your  despatch  of 
the  6th  January,  transmitting  copies  of  letters  addressed  to 
you  by  the  Earl  of  Selkirk  and  the  North- West  Company. 

I  have  not  failed  to  lay  these  papers  before  His  Royal 
Highness  the  Prince  Regent,  and  I  should  not  do  justice  to  the 
Attorney-General  if  I  were  to  forbear  expressing  the  satisfac- 
tion which  I  have  derived  from  his  detailed  explanation,  and 
desiring  you  to  assure  him  that  the  temper  and  judgment  with 


vr  MISSION   TO   ENGLAND  147 


which  he  has  conducted  himself  during  the  whole  of  these  long 
and  difficult  proceedings  have  received  His  Royal  Highness' 
entire  approbation. — I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c., 

BATHUHM-. 


J///  Father**  Account  continued. 

In  1821,  I  became  the  representative  of  the  town  of  York 
in  the  Assembly. 

The  Upper  Province  was  then  in  great  difficulty  from  the 
Province  of  Lower  Canada  refusing,  unreasonably,  to  concur 
in  any  measure,  such  as  had  been  adopted  by  consent  from 
time  to  time,  for  dividing  the  duties  levied  on  importations 
at  the  Port  of  Quebec*. 

This  obstructed  for  several  years  the  receipt  of  three- 
fourths  of  our  revenue.  The  political  leaders  in  the  Assembly 
of  Lower  Canada  denied  our  right  to  any  share  of  the  duties. 
We  were  thus  extremely  embarrassed,  owing  many  thousand 
pounds  to  wounded  militia  pensioners,  and  to  the  wives  and 
children  of  those  killed,  besides  other  debts. 

I  then  framed  the  first  Act  that  was  passed  for  borrowing 
money  upon  provincial  debentures,  with  all  those  provisions 
necessary  for  guarding  the  public  and  the  holders  of  the 
securities ;  and  these  have  been  followed  from  that  time  to 
this — so  that  I  had  the  glory  of  laying  the  foundation  of  our 
public  debt,  which  has  grown  from  our  modest  beginning  of 
.£25,000  to  (in  1854)  the  respectable  amount  of  four  millions. 

In  1822  the  evils  arising  from  the  detention  of  our  revenue 
by  Lower  Canada  became  intolerable,  and  I  was  appointed  by 
the  Government,  upon  the  joint  addresses  of  both  Houses  of 
the  Legislature,  to  proceed  to  England  as  Commissioner  on 
behalf  of  the  province,  to  procure,  if  possible,  the  interference 
of  Parliament  for  securing  the  just  division  of  revenue  between 
Upper  and  Lower  Canada.1 

In  this  mission  I  had  the  good  fortune  to  succeed,  and 
obtained  the  passing  of  the  Statute  3  &  4  Geo.  IV.  ch.  119— 

1  His  commission  to  perform  this  duty  is  dated  22nd  January  1822. 


148    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

or  rather,  I  mean,  of  that  portion  of  it  which  relates  to  the 
division  of  duties  by  arbitration,  which  part  of  the  Act  was 
wholly  framed  by  myself,  and  after  examination  by  the  Crown 
officers  in  England,  was  passed  without  any  alteration. 

Both  branches  of  the  Legislature  concurred  in  addresses  of 
thanks  to  me  for  the  service  I  had  rendered,  and  I  was  liberally 
indemnified  for  my  expenses  and  loss  of  time. 

I  here  give  addresses  of  both  Houses  in  connec- 
tion with  the  mission  above  alluded  to.  His  selection 
for  so  important  a  duty  and  the  appreciation  of  the 
way  it  had  been  carried  out  must  have  been  gratify- 
ing to  him.  He  was  then  very  little  over  thirty 
years  of  age. 

Address  desiring  his  Appointment  agreed  to  in  January  1822. 

To  His  Excellency  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland,  Commander  of  the 
Most  Honourable  Military  Order  of  the  Bath,  Lieutenant- 
Governor  of  the  Province  of  Upper  Canada,  and  Major- 
General  commanding  His  Majesty's  Forces  therein,  &c. 

May  it  please  your  Excellency  : 

The  Legislative  Council  and  House  of  Assembly  while  con- 
curring in  a  report,  and  in  an  address  to  our  Most  Gracious 
Sovereign  on  the  subject  of  our  provincial  relations  with  Lower 
Canada,  have  also  united  in  a  desire  that  on  an  occasion  of 
such  vast  importance  to  the  interests  of  this  province  some 
person  of  talent  and  consideration  may  be  appointed  to  lay  this 
address  at  the  foot  of  the  Throne. 

The  Legislative  Council  and  House  of  Assembly,  while 
they  disclaim  all  desire  of  interfering  with  an  appointment 
which,  by  their  joint  resolution,  rests  solely  with  your  Excel- 
lency, and  repose  the  fullest  confidence  in  your  Excellency's 
wisdom  to  select  a  person  fully  qualified  for  this  important 
mission,  on  considering  the  magnitude  of  the  subject,  have 
agreed  in  opinion,  from  the  experience  of  the  extensive  infor- 


vi  MISSION   TO   ENGLAND  149 

mation  of  his  Majesty's  Attorney-General  on  the  affairs  of 
this  province,  that  the  duties  suggested  by  the  report  will  be 
fulfilled  by  him  in  the  manner  most  conducive  to  the  attain- 
ment of  the  important  end  they  have  in  view. 

Vote  of  ITianks  of  the  Legislative  Council  passed  on  his 
return  to  Canada,  5th  March  18°J5. 

Resolved  unanimously  : 

That  the  thanks  of  this  House  be  given  to  JOHN  BEVERLEY 
ROHINSON,  Esquire,  for  the  distinguished  ability,  zeal,  and 
discretion  manifested  in  the  discharge  of  the  important  trust 
confided  to  him  as  Commissioner  to  bear  to  the  foot  of  the 
Throne  an  humble  address  on  the  fiscal  relations  of  this  pro- 
vince with  Lower  Canada,  and  in  so  success  fully  obtaining  the 
object  of  our  prayer. 

JOHN  POWELL,  C.L.C. 

In  forwarding  this  resolution  to  him  in  England, 
Chief-Justice  Powell  added  : — 

You  will  not  question  how  grateful  to  me  is  this  consumma- 
tion of  my  early  judgment,  or  the  sincere  pleasure  with  which 
I  communicate  this  honourable  testimony. 

The  House  of  Assembly  had  previously  (17th 
January  1823),  in  answer  to  the  speech  of  his 
Excellency  the  Lieutenant-Governor  at  the  opening 
of  the  session,  expressed  itself  as  "  perfectly  disposed 
to  concur  in  his  Excellency's  opinion  as  to  the  able 
manner  in  which  the  Commissioner  had  conducted 
the  important  negotiation  with  which  he  was  en- 
trusted." 

Some  friends  in  York  were  anxious  also  to  offer  a 
further  acknowledgment  of  his  services  in  the  shape 
of  a  public  testimonial  in  proof  of  their  "  private 
attachment  and  public  respect,"  but  this  he  begged 
might  not  be  done. 


150    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 


Account  continued. 

While  in  England  on  this  occasion,  I  completed  my  terms 
at  Lincoln's  Inn,  and  was  called  to  the  Bar  there  in  Hilary 
Term,  6th  February  1823. 

I  was  of  use,  at  the  same  time,  in  England  in  various  other 
public  matters,  particularly  on  the  question  of  Emigration,  and 
was  detained  by  them  longer  than  would  have  been  necessary 
by  the  mere  business  that  took  me  over. 

To  mark  the  sense  which  the  Government  in  England 
entertained  of  the  services  I  had  rendered  in  all  these  matters, 
the  Under-Secretary  of  State  informed  me  that  an  instruction 
would  be  sent  to  the  Colonial  Government  to  make  me  a  grant 
of  the  waste  lands  of  the  Crown,  which  used  to  be  ordinarily 
granted  to  members  of  the  Executive  Council — either  6000  or 
10,000  acres,  as  the  Government  might  approve  of. 

On  reflection  I  declined  it,  from  an  impression  that,  being 
a  member  of  the  Legislature,  it  would  be  better  for  me  to 
accept  of  nothing  which,  from  the  jealousy  it  might  create,  or 
on  any  ground,  might  lessen  my  weight  in  the  Assembly,  and 
disable  me  from  serving  the  Government  as  efficiently  as  I 
otherwise  might. 

In  August  1823  I  returned  to  Canada.  Before  I  departed 
(in  April  1823)  I  received  a  letter  from  the  Under-Secretary  of 
State,  written  by  desire  of  Lord  Bathurst,  informing  me  that 
the  arrangements  which  Lord  Bathurst  had  in  contemplation 
to  make  at  Mauritius  would  occasion  a  vacancy  in  the  office  of 
Chief  Judge  in  that  colony ;  that  the  salary  attached  to  the 
situation  was  ^3500  sterling  a  year,  with  an  allowance  at  the 
rate  of  120  dollars  per  month  for  house  rent ;  that  if  I  should 
prefer  the  situation  to  that  then  held  by  me  in  Upper  Canada, 
Lord  Bathurst  would  feel  disposed  to  submit  my  name  to  his 
Majesty  for  the  appointment ;  and  that  his  Lordship  directed 
him  to  add  that  he  felt  much  pleasure  in  availing  himself  of 
that  opportunity  to  mark  his  sense  of  the  zeal  and  ability  with 
which  I  had  discharged  the  duties  of  Attorney-General  in  the 
Province  of  Upper  Canada. 

I  was  in  a  subsequent  note  informed  that,  according  to  the 


vi  DECLINES   REWARDS  151 

rule  in  the  Southern  and  Eastern  Colonies,  I  could  retire  if  I 
pleased  after  seven  years'  service,  upon  an  allowance  which  was 
not  yet  definitely  fixed,  but  which  I  would  be  safe  in  assuming 
would  not  be  less  than  X'15()0  sterling. 

I  del-lined  this  also — not  wisely,  perhaps,  as  I  have  had 
occasion  since  to  feel1 — and  chiefly  for  the  reason  that  I 
believed  my  services  as  Attorney-General  and  a  member  of 
the  Legislature  in  this  large  and  important  colony  were  much 
more  useful  than  they  were  likely  to  be  in  Mauritius.  We 
perhaps  grow  more  seliish  as  we  grow  older;  but  I  certainly 
did,  in  those  days,  think  more  of  public  duty  than  of  private 
inleiv 

I  interrupt  my  father's  account  here  by  inserting 
his  letter  to  Mr.  Wilmot  Horton,  declining  this  ap- 
pointment : — 

April  Itt 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — I  beg  you  will  assure  Lord  Bathurst  that  I 
am  very  grateful  for  the  communication  contained  in  your  note 
of  the  15th  April. 

Attachments  of  a  public  and  private  nature  lead  me  to 
prefer  my  present  situation  in  Canada  to  one  more  lucrative  in 
another  colony,  in  which  I  should  probably  take  less  interest 
and  might  therefore  be  less  useful;  but  I  do  not  on  that 
account  more  lightly  value  this  additional  proof  of  his  Lord- 
ship's kindness  and  confidence,  rendered  the  more  gratifying 
from  the  circumstances  of  its  being  unsolicited  and  from  the 
terms  in  which  it  has  been  conveyed. 

Suffer  me  also  to  use  this  occasion  of  offering  you  my  sincere 
thanks  for  the  kindness  you  have  constantly  shown  me.  .  .  . 
— I  remain,  &c. 

1  In  saving  this  he  no  doubt  refers  to  the  reduction  which  subsequently 
took  place  in  the  official  income  of  the  Chief  Ju>tice  of  I  "pper  Canada. 

a  Tlu'  Lnir  Journal  of  I'pper  Canada  (March  IMC.",)  remarks  as  to  his 
having  declined  this  appointment: — "His  decision  in  this  matter  lias 
shown  more  forcibly  than  any  act  of  his  life  how  ^reat  a  love  he  bore 
to  his  native  land,  and  establishes  the  fact  that  his  public  acts  were  in- 
fluenced solely  by  motives  of  the  purest  patriotism,  and  not  by  any  sordid 
or  seltish  hope  of  personal  advancement." 


152    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Account  continued. 

In  1823,  while  I  was  in  England,  a  gentleman,  who  had 
formerly  been  in  Canada,  but  was  then  holding  an  influential 
position  in  Oxford,  wrote  to  me  that  if  I  would  come  down 
from  London  on  their  great  occasion  which  was  then  approach- 
ing, he  would  engage  that  I  should  receive  the  honorary  degree 
of  D.C.L. ;  that  he  had  spoken  of  it  in  the  necessary  quarters, 
and  had  ascertained  that  there  would  be  no  difficulty,  the 
ground  on  which  it  would  be  conferred  being,  in  addition  to 
my  official  position  as  Attorney-General,  my  strenuous  and 
consistent  support  of  the  rights  of  the  Church  of  England  in 
tipper  Canada. 

I  answered  that  I  did  not  feel  that  I  had  sufficient  pre- 
tensions to  the  distinction,  and  declined,  which  I  have  some- 
times since  regretted,  considering  my  subsequent  connection 
with  our  College  here.1 

Among  other  public  questions  in  which  my  father 
interested  himself  at  this  time  in  England,  he  took 
up  very  strongly  that  of  a  Legislative  Union  of  the 
whole  of  the  British- American  Colonies,  urging  it 
upon  the  attention  of  the  Colonial  Office. 

In  1822  a  Bill  had  been  introduced  by  Mr. 
Wilmot 2  into  Parliament  for  uniting  the  two  Legis- 
latures of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada  together,  the 
other  provinces  not  being  included,  but  opinion  was 
much  divided  as  to  the  advisability  of  the  measure, 
and  it  fell  through. 

Writing  in  his  diary  on  5th  January  1823,  my 
father  says  : — 

Spoke  (to  Mr.  Wilmot)  upon  a  design  of  uniting  all  the 

1  As  Chancellor  of  Trinity  College  University,  Toronto.      Not  long 
after  the  above  was  written,  and  when  on  a  visit  to  England  in  1855,  the 
honorary  degree  of  D.C.L.  was  conferred  upon  him  at  Oxford. 

2  Afterwards   Sir  Wilmot  Horton,  Under-Secretory  of  State  for  the 
Colonies  at  this  time.     He  was  Governor  of  Ceylon  1831-37,  and  took  an 
active  interest  in  all  Colonial  and  emigration  questions.     He  died  1841. 


vi         UNION   OF   N.   A.   PROVINCES        153 

North-American  Colonies,  and  I  am  to  write  remarks  on  the 
subject,  having  several  times  pressed  it  upon  his  consideration. 
My  plan  would  go  further  than  the  suggestions  I  have  seen, 
and  would  make  the  Colonies  effectually  an  integral  part  of  the 
Empire  if  adopted. 

The  "  remarks  "  alluded  to  above  were  embodied 
in  a  letter  addressed  to  Lord  Bathurst,  Secretary 
of  State  for  the  Colonies,  and  afterwards  published 
in  pamphlet  form 1  in  London,  under  the  title  of 
**  Plan  for  a  general  Legislative  Union  of  the  British 
Provinces  in  North  America,"  accompanied  by  ex- 
tracts from  a  paper  on  the  subject  written  in  1807 
by  Chief-Justice  Scwell. 

In  this  pamphlet  my  father,  speaking  of  the  feel- 
ing of  the  English  population  throughout  the  Canadas 
with  respect  to  the  union  of  the  two  Canadas  only, 
without  the  other  provinces,  says : — 

Many  of  them  regard  the  union  as  a  measure  of  doubtful 
tendency,  and  are  really  unable  to  come  to  a  decided  opinion  as 
to  the  preponderance  of  good  or  evil  likely  to  result  from  it. 
Of  these  some  think  the  experiment  may  be  made  with  safety; 
others  are  apprehensive  that  it  may  produce  much  mischief 
and  inconvenience;  and,  though  they  are  not  convinced  that 
the  union  might  not,  on  the  whole,  and  in  the  end,  be  beneficial, 
they  are  so  much  in  doubt  about  it,  that  they  would  rather 
not  run  the  hazard  of  disturbing  the  present  state  of  things. 

But  there  is  a  remedy  within  the  power  of  Parliament 
for  all  these  perplexities.  The  measure  alluded  to  is  the 
uniting  the  British  North  American  Provinces  into  one  grand 
Confederacy. 

He  then  gives  the  details  of  his  plan,  with  the 
number  of  members  to  compose  the  Legislative 

1  Dr.  Strachan  also  published  a  pamphlet  in  18:2-,  urpnjr  a  union  of  all 
the  British-American  Colonies,  in  lieu  of  the  proposed  limited  union  of 
the  two  Canadas. 


154    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Council  to  be  delegated  from  each  province,  &c.,  to 
the  "New  Albion"  or  "British  North  America," 
and  continues : — 

The  actual  consolidation  of  the  British  Empire  would  be  at 
least  a  grand  measure  of  national  policy.  To  recapitulate,  it 
is  believed  that  to  unite  the  British  North  American  Provinces 
by  giving  them  a  common  legislature  and  erecting  them  into  a 
kingdom,  would  be  gratifying  to  all  those  Colonies — it  would 
put  an  end  to  all  danger  and  inconveniences  from  petty  factions 
and  local  discontents,  and  secure  the  public  counsels  of  all  the 
Colonies  from  foreign  influence. 

But  the  Government  in  England  were  not  dis- 
posed to  take  up  the  matter  of  the  more  extended 
Union,  and  rightly  or  wrongly  considered  that,  so 
far  from  the  measure  advocated  being  one  which 
would  be  gratifying  to  all  the  Colonies  (as  my  father 
then  believed  it  would,  if  properly  brought  before 
them),  the  proposal  would  not  be  entertained  by 
them. 

This  view  may  have  been  right — though  that  is 
uncertain — and  without  doubt  no  scheme  of  union 
or  federation  can  be  pressed  to  advantage  upon  in- 
different or  reluctant  provinces. 

The  subject  was  in  any  case  dropped  for  the  time, 
though  my  father  (see  next  chapter)  returned  to  it 
again  the  following  year,  and  once  more  without 
success. 

Looking  back  now  to  this  period  it  seems  at 
least  to  be  regretted  that  this  union  was  not 
more  favourably  entertained  and  actively  pressed 
during  the  years  between  1822  and  1830,  when  the 
feeling  between  Lower  and  Upper  Canada — the  one 
province  chiefly  French  and  the  other  British  —  had 


vi         UNION   OF   N.   A.   PROVINCES        1.55 

not  assumed  the  character  which,  under  pressure  of 
political  influences,  it  did  later  on. 

It  seems  possihle  that  could  such  a  union  of  all 
the  British-American  Provinces  have  been  carried 
at  this  time,  the  Rebellion,  which  delayed  it  for 
many  years  (as  after  this  the  maritime  provinces 
were  less  disposed  to  join  the  Canadas),  might  not 
have  occurred,  and  political  changes,  becoming  in- 
evitable, might  have  been  introduced  into  Canada, 
as  they  were  in  England,  it'  not  without  contention, 
at  all  events  without  bloodshed. 

Mr.  Dent,  writing  of  the  union  of  Upper  with 
Lower  Canada  which  took  place  under  the  Union 
Hill  of  1840,  '  and  alluding  to  my  father's  opposition 
to  it,  says  :— 

Mr.  Robinson  had  sixteen  years  before  been  an  advocate  of 
such  a  union  as  he  now  opposed,  but  had  subsequently  seen 
reason  for  changing  his  views. 

This  arises  no  doubt  from  a  misapprehension  of 
what  my  father  did  advocate.  What  he  urged  in 
1822  and  again  in  1824-25  (see  next  chapter)  was 
not  such  a  union  as  took  place  in  1840  (i.e.  of  Upper 
and  Lower  Canada  only),  but  a  union  of  all  the 
British  North  American  Provinces,  which  became  a 
recognised  necessity  in  1867,  after  the  former  measure 
had  led  to  a  political  i 


On  this  visit  to  England  in  1822-23,  my  father 
was  accompanied  by  my  mother  and  eldest  sister, 
then  a  child,  his  two  boys  being  left  in  Canada,  but 
of  these  years  and  1825  (when  he  was  again  in 

1  "  Canada  since  the  Union  of  1841,"  by  John  Charles  Dent. 


156    SIR  JOHN  BEVEKLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

England)  comparatively  few  references  to  occupations 
and  interests  other  than  those  of  a  public  character 
have  been  preserved. 

Writing  to  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland,  16th  July 
1822,  he  thanks  him  for  some  letters  of  introduction, 
and  thus  alludes  to  his  first  meeting  with  Serjeant 
Copley  (afterwards  Lord  Lyndhurst)  and  with  the 
Duke  of  Wellington,  whom  he  met  frequently  in 
subsequent  years  :— 

I  am  much  indebted  to  you  for  your  kind  letter  of 
20th  April.  Sir  William  Robinson  had  before  introduced  me 
to  Serjeant  Copley,  and  I  had  the  pleasure  of  meeting  at  his 
house  a  few  weeks  ago  some  of  your  nephews  and  nieces,  who 
had,  of  course,  many  questions  to  ask  about  Canada.1 

From  Earl  Bathurst,  in  the  intercourse  I  have  had  with 
him,  I  have  experienced  the  greatest  kindness.  He  and  the 
Countess  invited  us  to  dinner,  and  it  was  no  small  gratification 
to  me  to  meet  there  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  Lord  Liverpool, 
the  Duchess  of  Richmond,  and  others. 

At  this  time  Dr.  Strachan  again  strongly 
pressed  upon  my  father  the  advantages  which,  in 
his  opinion,  would  attend  his  remaining  altogether 
in  England  and  entering  into  professional  and 
parliamentary  life  there ;  and  the  question  of  his 
doing  so  was  more  than  once  the  subject  of  dis- 
cussion and  correspondence  with  Sir  Wilmot  Horton 
and  others. 

But  there  were  difficulties  in  the  way.  He  had 
now  a  family2  growing  up  around  him,  and  the 
change  must  have  been,  in  any  case,  one  from  a 
comparative  certainty  to  an  uncertainty. 

1  This  interest  arose  from  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland,,  Lieutenant-Governor 
of  Upper  Canada,  1820-28,  having  married  Lady  Sarah  Lennox,  daughter 
of  the  Duke  of  Richmond  who  had  been  Governor-General  of  Canada, 
1818-19. 

a  For  particulars  as  to  his  children,  see  Appendix  B.,  V7. 


• 


CAREER  IN  ENGLAND  ADVISED     ir>7 


* 


These  and  other  considerations,  among  which  it 
may  be  truly  said  was  his  affection  for  Canada,  led 

liis  never  acting  on  their  advice. 

One  of  Dr.  Strachan's  letters  to  him  on  this 
subject  is  of  more  than  usual  interest,  and  I  now 
give  some  extracts  from  it : — 


From  Dr.  Stracltan. 

YORK,  WthJnne  IH'JJ. 

MY  DKAR  JOHN,  —  I  was  much  gratified  by  your  letter  of  the 
llth  April  to  invsi-lf.  You  will  he  able  to  reward  the  pro- 
vince for  the  confidence  it  has  reposed  in  you,  and  acquit  your- 
If  in  a  manner  creditable  to  yourself  and  satisfactory  to  your 
oelings.  I  need  not  trouble  you  with  any  re-marks  on  the  two 
important  general  Bills  you  mention.  To  the  first,  regarding 
the  West  Indies,  there  may  be  some  objections  offered  of  a 
very  weighty  nature,  but  I  presume  that  the  fear  of  the  total 
ruin  of  our  sugar  islands  compels  Government  to  throw  their 
ports  open  to  the  Americans.  I  hope  the  Colonial  ships  will 
be  allowed  to  trade  from  island  to  island  and  from  colony  to 
colony,  while  the  Americans  are  forced  to  clear  from  a  port  in 
their  own  country  to  one  of  ours  and  straight  back.  I  am 
aware  that  all  restrictions  whatever  are  condemned  by  Dr. 
Smith  and  his  disciples,  but  it  is  inv  decided  opinion  that  till 
all  nations  throw  aside  the  shackles  of  commerce  we  cannot 
afford  to  make  ours  entirely  free.1 

I  was  much  pleased  to  find  that  you  have  been  so  much 
consulted  upon  this  change  of  policy;  but  especially  upon  the 
Canada  Hill,  for  the  draft  of  which  we  are  exceedingly  anxious. 
I  am  also  glad  that  you  are  to  draw  it  up.  Here  appears  the 
advantage  of  having  you  at  home.  Mr.  Caldwell  and  the 
Solicitor-General  of  Lower  Canada  will  perceive  that  you  are 
solicitous  for  the  interests  of  both  provinces,  and  desire  only 
such  provisions  in  the  proposed  laws  as  cannot  be  justly  found 
fault  with.  I  trust  and  hope  that  nothing  will  happen  to 


1  It  is  curious  that  now,  eighty  years  after  the  above  wonN  \voro 
written,  the  question  of  whether  free  trade,  or  only  partial  free  trade 
would  he  the  best  in  the  interests  of  the  Empire,  should  be  attracting 
such  serious  attention. 


158    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

thwart  or  impede  the  progress  of  the  Bills  in  their  passage 
through  Parliament.  I  participate  most  sincerely  in  the 
anxiety  you  must  feel  upon  this  occasion,  and  I  most  fervently 
pray  that  the  prosperity  hitherto  vouchsafed  you  by  a  kind 
Providence  may  always  continue. 

As  anything  I  could  say  respecting  your  public  measures 
would  be  now  too  late  to  answer  any  purpose,  I  will  revert  to 
your  own  affairs.  I  am  against  your  returning  before  you  are 
admitted  to  the  Bar. 

...  I  thought  it  better  to  stop  here  and  to  talk  to  Hillier  * 
on  the  subject.  He  says  the  General  thinks  of  a  middle 
course — that  you  leave  Mrs.  Robinson  in  England,  come  out 
to  attend  the  session  of  Parliament,  with  your  documents,  &c., 
and  deliver  them  yourself,  and  explain  what  you  have  effected. 
After  the  close  of  the  session  you  may  return  to  England  and 
remain  as  long  as  you  think  fit.  I  must  admit  that  some  very 
considerable  advantages  attend  this  plan.  You  anticipate  very 
truly  that  I  will  speak  of  your  remaining  in  England  though  I 
first  bring  you  back  to  Canada.  As  Attorney-General  here, 
you  will  have  for  many  years  to  come  the  whole  weight  of 
public  business  on  your  shoulders.  You  will  have  all  the 
Bills  to  draw ;  your  best  motives  will  be  questioned  and  belied, 
your  words  and  expressions  twisted,  your  conduct  slandered, 
and  all  this  without  any  redeeming  advantage.  After  many 
years  of  painful,  thankless  labour,  and  perhaps  many  difficulties 
and  mortifications  from  changes  in  our  administration,  new 
Governors,  &c.,  you  may  be  promoted  to  the  office  of  Chief 
Justice.  This  is,  however,  by  no  means  certain,  for  by  a 
change  in  the  Ministry,  you  may  suffer  the  mortification  of 
having  a  person  set  over  your  head.  But  we  will  suppose  no 
such  disappointment,  and  that  you  are  Chief.  You  have  then 
our  House  to  keep  in  order,2  and  to  maintain  peace  between  us 
and  the  Assembly. 

I  am  willing  to  allow  that  this  prospect  was  once  a  fair 

1  Colonel  Hillier  was  private  secretary  to  General  Sir  Peregrine  Mait- 
land,  the  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Upper  Canada. 

2  The  Chief  Justice  of  Upper  Canada  was  at  this  time  ex  qfficio  Speaker 
of  the  Legislative  Council. 


vi     CAREER  IN  ENGLAND  ADVISED     1/59 


fi 

: 


object  of  ambition,  but  tilings  are  now  changed,  and  an 
opportunity  presents  itself  to  you  of  acting  on  a  more  brilliant 
field.  Turn  we  then  to  England. 

You  :nv  there  on  a  vast  theatre.     You  get  admittance  to 
the  Bar;  a  single  cause  of  general  interest  and  importan. 

11  you  want  to  place  you  in  that  rank  which  would  enable  you 
to  command  everything  reasonable;  and  a  short  time  at  the 
Bar  will  open  for  you  the  doors  of  the  House  of  Commons, 
where  your  talents  will  be  duly  appreciated.  Your  entrance 
into  the  House  will  be  attended  by  situations  of  confu! 
.nd  emolument,  and  you  will  be  able  in  a  short  time  to  do 
more  tor  your  family  and  friends  than  you  can  ever  do  in 
Canada;  and  all  this  with  less  trouble — infinitely  less — than 
YOU  will  have  to  surmount  here.  I  have  myself  some  ambition 
to  be  known  as  the  tutor  of  a  second  Pitt,  for  I  really  think 
that  you  possess  more  real  knowledge  than  he  did  when  he 
hi'gdn  his  political  career.  You  know  more  of  men  and 
manners,  of  the  different  views  and  interests  of  the  various 
divisions  of  the  Empire,  have  greater  insight  into  human 
nature,  and  greater  strength  and  industry  to  second  the  con- 
ceptions of  your  mind.1  I  am  perfectly  persuaded  that  you 
will  be  found  equal  to  your  situation,  and  that  your  talents 
will  expand  with  your  calls  for  their  exertion.  In  saving  all 
this  you  will  not  suspect  me  of  flattery,  for  I  am  not  given  to 
that  vice  at  any  time.  I  may  indeed  be  mistaken,  and  may 
value  your  talents  higher  than  I  ought  from  partial  affection, 
but  you  will,  I  am  sure,  admit  that  I  am  not  often  mistaken  in 
reading  character,  and  that  I  judge,  in  most  cases,  correctly  of 
men.  In  your  case  my  opinion  is  not  so  much  founded  on 
personal  attainments,  great  as  they  are,  as  on  your  capacity 
and  industry  and  energy,  which,  rising  from  a  good  foundation, 
qualify  you  to  meet  every  emergency. 

You  may,  in  power,  do  infinite  good  to  the  British  Empire, 
for  I  could  show  you  that  many  of  the  difficulties  with  which 


1  Though  the  expressions  here  used  may  appear  exaggerated,  I  do  not 
omit  them,  as  they  show  the  opinion  which  Dr.  Strachan,  his  old  master, 
had  now  formed  of  my  father's  capacity  for  public  affairs. 


160     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

she  is  embarrassed  arise  from  the  ignorance  of  men  in  power — 
not  a  culpable  ignorance,  but  from  their  want  of  a  species  of 
knowledge  which  they  have  had  no  opportunity  of  acquiring. 

By  returning  to  this  country,  you  will  encounter  all  the 
evils  of  a  public  life  without  any  of  its  sweets.  In  England 
you  will  meet  fewer  evils,  and  they  will  be  redeemed  by  many 
advantages.  I  might  fill  my  letter  with  this  subject,  as  it  is 
near  my  heart,  and  you  will  easily  believe,  not  without  a  severe 
contention,  for  I  have  many  cogent  reasons  for  wishing  you  to 
remain  here.  However,  weigh  the  matter  well  before  you 
decide.  As  to  means,  I  will  charge  myself,  pinched  as  I  am, 
with  a  thousand  or  fifteen  hundred  pounds,  to  be  repaid  at 
your  leisure  if  you  succeed,  and  never  if  you  fail.  The  truth 
is,  I  am  so  convinced  that  you  will  succeed,  that  I  am  ready 
to  go  all  lengths  to  keep  you  perfectly  comfortable  in  the 
meantime. 

My  father  left  England  to  return  to  Canada  in 
June  1823,  reaching  Toronto  via  New  York,  Albany, 
and  Niagara  on  the  9th  July.  He  writes  as  to  his 
journey : — 

The  first  part  of  our  voyage  was  tedious,  the  winds  being 
constantly  adverse,  but  the  last  half  of  the  way  we  had  better 
fortune.  The  weather  was  exceedingly  pleasant  the  whole 
way.  We  reached  New  York  on  the  19th  June,  having  been 
thirty-two  days  out. 

On  the  Tuesday  following,  we  continued  our  route  to  Albany 
by  steamboat,  and  from  thence  travelled  in  a  hired  coach — 
or  hack  as  they  call  it — by  easy  journeys  of  thirty-five  miles 
a  day  to  Lewistown  (having  sent  our  baggage  by  the  canal 
to  Rochester),  and  from  thence  in  the  American  steamboat 
to  Niagara.  I  found  Sir  Peregrine  at  Stamford,  and  we  spent 
two  days  there,  and  then  came  by  the  Frontenac  here,  where  we 
landed  on  Wednesday,  the  9th  instant,  and  found  all  our 
children  and  friends  in  as  good  health  as  we  left  them.  I  rode 
out  the  same  evening  to  Newmarket  with  Charles  Heward. 


CHAPTER  VII 

AT  THE  BAR  AND  IN  THE  HOUSE  OF 

ASSEMBLY   (Continued) 

1824-28 

Renews  advocacy  of  a  Union  of  the  British  North  American  Provinces  : 

his  view*;  on  this  suKjeet  and  tin-  position  of  ( 'anada  with  regard  to 
Knirland  and  the  I'nited  States  IVter  Kohin-on  and  the  Irish 
emigrants:  their  excellent  conduct  in  I.".:1.?  (Joes  to  Kn^land  in 
connection  with  proposal  sale  of  the  Clertry  Re-en  es  to  the  Canada 
Company;  success  on  this  occasion  -The  question  of  the  Clergy 
Reserves  Let  (eras  to  his  presentation  of  site  tor  a  Methodi-t  church 
—  Religious  Denominations  Bill— His  Parliamentary  lite- -Mr.  Bid- 
well — The  Alien  Bills  The  Family  Compart  1'ro-f-ut ion*  for  lihel 
— Employment  out  of  Canada  su^e-ted  Declines  ( 'hief-.fustice-hip 
of  Upper  Can;. da  -  His  iva-oiis  Subsequently  accepts  the  po>t— 
Vacates  seat  in  Hou-e  of  Assembly--  Presentation  of  plate  by 
elector*;  of  York — His  view  of  Parliamentary  representation — Law 
Journal  as  to  him. 

IN  the  year  1824  my  father  became  aware  that  the 
expediency  of  uniting  the  provinces  of  Upper  and 
Lower  Canada  was  again  to  be  brought  before 
Ministers  in  England  during  the  recess  of  Parlia- 
ment. It  was  believed  also  that,  at  the  same  time, 
the  question  of  a  general  union  of  the  British  North 
American  Colonies,  i.e.  the  provinces  of  Lower  and 
Upper  Canada,  New  Brunswick,  and  Nova  Scotia, 
might  receive  consideration,  so  he  again  returned  to 
this  latter  subject  in  a  letter  to  Lord  Bathurst,  dated 
York,  Upper  Canada,  December  2(>,  1S'J4. 

This  letter  was  afterwards  published  in  London 
(in  1825)  in  pamphlet  form,  under  the  title,  "A  letter 
to  the  Right  Honourable  Earl  Bathurst,  K.G.,  on 

161  L 


162    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

the  Policy  of  uniting  the  British  North  American 
Colonies." 

In  this  letter  he  writes  : — 

It  is  the  fear  of  perpetual  strife  from  the  unavoidable 
inconvenience  of  having  the  parties  of  French  and  English, 
Catholic  and  Protestant,  so  nearly  balanced,  that  disposes  me 
most  to  doubt  the  policy  of  uniting  the  provinces  of  Canada l 
at  this  period. 

My  conviction  is  that  there  is  a  remedy  2  more  certain  to  be 
effectual  and  in  every  way  more  expedient. 

I  know  not  in  what  light  the  design  of  a  general  union  of 
the  British  North  American  Colonies  may  have  appeared  to 
his  Majesty's  Government,  if  it  has  been  submitted  to  con- 
sideration, as  I  learn  it  was  to  have  been. 

So  far  from  looking  on  this  plan  with  any  of  the  prejudices 
or  wishes  of  a  friend  or  an  enemy  of  the  union  of  the  Canadas, 
it  is  not  as  a  Canadian  that  I  am  impressed  with  a  conviction 
of  its  importance,  arid  entreat  for  it  the  attention  of  his 
Majesty"^  Government.  It  is  as  a  British  subject  that  I  feel  an 
interest  and  an  anxiety  that  may  appear  to  approach  too 
nearly  to  enthusiasm,  when  I  anticipate  its  probable  effects. 

And  he  writes  to  his  brother  Peter  in  this  year 

(1824)  :— 

If  they  would  but  adopt  my  favourite  plan  of  giving  an 
United  Legislature  to  the  four  Colonies,  and  leave  the  local 
Legislatures  for  unimportant  purposes  to  each,  every  end  might 
be  attained." 

Those  who  then  opposed  the  union  of  the  British 
American  Provinces,  did  so  chiefly  on  the  following 
grounds : — 

That  these  provinces  neither  wished  for  it,  nor 
were  ripe  for  it ;  that  the  scheme  was,  in  short,  pre- 

1  i.e.  the  provinces  of  Canada  only,  and  not  the  whole  of  the  British 
North  American  Colonies. 

2  i.e.  for  the  evils  existing  in  Lower  Canada. 


vii  URGES   CONFEDERATION  103 

mature,  and  put  forward  merely  to  divert  attention 
from  the  pressing  need  of  the  union  of  the  two 
Canadas  alone.  That  Mr.  Sewell's  proposals  of  1807 
were  but  a  revival  with  modifications  of  a  plan 
framed  by  Dr.  Franklin  in  1754  for  the  union  of  the 
old  British  Colonies  (which  subsequently  became  the 
United  States)  and  were  never  viewed  as  expedient, 
or  adopted.  Finally,  that  such  a  union  would  hasten 
the  day  when  these  provinces  would  desire  to  become 
independent,  and  dissolve  their  connection  with  the 
mother  country,  and  was  not  therefore  to  be  encour- 
aged from  an  imperial  point  of  view. 

I  now  give  some  extracts  from  my  father's  pam- 
phlet mentioned  above,  in  which  he  refers  to  and 
replies  to  these  objections,  especially  as  these  extracts 
allude  to  the  origin  of  the  great  scheme  for  the  Con- 
federation of  the  North  American  Colonies  into  one 
Dominion,  which  was  happily  carried  out  many  years 
afterwards  (in  1867)  when  the  relations  between  Upper 
and  Lower  Canada  had  become  such  as  to  make  it 
imperative.  They  also  show  his  views  as  to  the 
improbability  of  these  Colonies  ever  desiring  to  sever 
their  connection  with  the  mother  country,  and  as  to 
their  position  with  respect  to  the  United  States  of 
America. 

Answering  the  objections  urged,  he  says  : — 

In  the  actual  state  of  these  provinces  there  are  strong  con- 
curring inducements1  to  select  the  present  time  for  commencing 
the  great  system  of  policy  to  which  I  could  wish  some  voice  of 
greater  influence  were  raised  to  call  your  Lordship's  attention. 
Your  Lordship  will  not  fail  to  perceive  how  strong  the  motive 
is  with  one  who  sincerely  believes  in  the  expediency  of  the 

1  These  inducements  are  set  out  in  the  letter,  but  cannot  be  con- 
veniently given  in  the  space  of  this  Memoir. 


164    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

system  recommended,  to  desire  that  its  immediate  adoption 
should  take  the  place  of  a  very  questionable  and  much  less 
effectual  measure  of  policy.  .  .  . 

It  is,  I  trust,  scarcely  probable  that  your  Lordship's  atten- 
tion has  been  diverted  from  it  in  any  degree  by  an  idea  that  I 
see  the  anxious  petitioners  for  the  partial  union  have  been 
most  studious  to  inculcate;  viz.  that  it  is  thrown  out  merely 
to  draw  your  Lordship's  attention  from  the  other  measure,  and 
without  any  expectation  that  it  would  be  adopted. 

The  best  answer  to  such  a  surmise  is  that  Mr.  SewelPs 
paper  in  its  present  shape  was  offered  for  consideration  some 
years  before  any  intention  had  been  expressed  of  uniting  the 
provinces  of  Canada ;  and  that  the  paper  on  the  same  subject 
which  was  submitted  by  myself,  was  not  otherwise  offered  than 
in  compliance  with  the  desire  of  Mr.  Wilmot  Horton  that  I 
should  consider  Mr.  SewelPs  project  and  reduce  to  writing  for 
his  perusal  whatever  occurred  to  me  respecting  it. 

I  wrote  it  with  too  ardent  a  hope  that  its  statements  might 
attract  attention,  and  with  too  earnest  a  conviction  of  their 
truth,  not  to  be  desirous  that  it  should  again  meet  your 
Lordship's  perusal  while  circumstances  concur  to  call  your 
attention  so  particularly  to  the  political  condition  of  these 
Colonies. 

The  people  of  these  Colonies  have  expressed  no  opinion  on 
the  subject,1  because  it  has  in  no  shape  been  offered  to  their 
consideration,  nor  in  any  manner  discussed  or  pointed  out  in 
the  provinces,  but  it  is  a  most  reasonable  expectation  that  a 
system  so  evidently  tending  to  increase  their  respectability, 
and  attended  with  no  sacrifice  of  local  advantage  or  con- 
venience, would,  if  offered  to  their  consideration,  be  most 
favourably  regarded. 

With  respect  to  the  imputation  of  private  interests ',  by 
which  it  has  been  attempted  to  create  prejudice  against  the 
suggestions  of  a  general  union,  your  Lordship,  I  am  sure,  will 
feel  that  the  character  of  the  individual  to  whom  it  is 


1  i.e.  the  subject  of  the  general  union  of  all  the  Colonies,  rather  than 
a  union  of  the  two  Canadas  alone. 


vii  URGES   CONFEDERATION  105 

intended  such  an  observation  should  apply  can  alone  deter- 
mine its  justice. 

The  plan  submitted  by  me  was  certainly  suggested  without 
the  slightest  consideration  of  any  other  scheme  than  Mr. 
SewelFs.  The  objection,  however  (if  it  was  meant  as  an 
objection),  gives  rise  to  one  or  two  considerations  which  I 
cannot  forbear  to  state.  The  plan  of  1754  did  not  originate 
with  Dr.  Franklin,  though  it  was  commented  upon  by  him. 
It  was  drawn  up  and  offered  to  the  consideration  of  the  King's 
Ministers  by  Governor  Hutchinson,  whose  preference  of  British 
to  Colonial  interests  was  unfortunately  somewhat  too  in- 
cautiously displayed  on  all  occasions,  and  whose  zeal  for  the 
integrity  of  the  Empire  was  not  likely  to  have  suffered  him 
to  be  the  proposer  of  a  measure  which  would  tend  to  dis- 
solve the  connection  between  the  mother  country  and  her 
Colonies. 

It  is  true  that  a  plan  was  pressed  upon  the  British  Govern- 
ment in  the  year  1754  for  uniting  the  Colonies  in  America 
(now  the  United  States) ;  and  equally  true — whether  it  was  the 
plan  of  Mr.  Hutchinson  or  Dr.  Franklin — that  it  was  not 
adopted. 

.  .  .  The  event  may  offer  no  useless  lesson.  Remaining 
separate  Governments  with  separate  Legislatures ;  with  no 
legitimate  bond  of  union  involving  an  acknowledged  responsi- 
bility, with  no  occasional  constitutional  interchange  of  opinion 
and  no  common  medium  of  communication  with  the  parent 
State  ;  with  no  direct  representations  in  the  Councils  of  the 
Empire,  these  Colonies  rebelled,  and  after  an  obstinate  struggle, 
which  added  more  than  one  hundred  millions  to  the  National 
Debt,  they  were  lost  to  the  Empire. 

It  is  at  least  plain  that  as  the  consequences  could  not  have 
been  more  unfortunate,  the  rejection  of  Mr.  Hutchinson's  plan 
can  afford  no  possible  ground  for  congratulation. 

Then,  speaking  of  the  idea  (very  prevalent  in 
England),  that  to  hasten  the  development  and  pro- 
gress of  the  British- American  Colonies,  was  but  to 
hasten  the  time  when  they,  like  the  older  Colonies 


166    SIR  JOHN  BEVEKLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

now   forming   the   United   States,  would  throw  off 
their  allegiance  to  the  mother  country,  he  adds  : — 

An  erroneous  idea  of  the  extent  and  capability  of  Canada, 
and  a  disregard  of  its  geographical  position,  can  alone  have 
occasioned  such  an  impression. 

Provinces,  however  extensive,  which  are  kept  in  check  on 
one  side  by  a  foreign  nation  that  must  ever  exceed  them  in 
power,  and  which  can  communicate  with  other  countries  only 
by  one  narrow  channel,  which  is  closed  by  ice  for  nearly  half 
the  year,  can  have  no  imaginable  temptation  to  cast  themselves 
loose  from  an  Empire  which  supplies  the  security  they  want. 
Nova  Scotia  and  New  Brunswick,  exposed  on  all  their  coasts  to 
the  navies  of  Great  Britain,  can  never  rise  to  sufficient  power 
or  importance  to  admit  of  their  aspiring  to  be  independent 
States.  There  is  as  little  ground  to  imagine  that  they  would 
ever  desire  to  become  subject  to  the  Government  of  the  United 
States.  The  disposition  of  their  people  is  at  present  most 
decidedly  adverse  to  the  American  Republic. 

A  view  of  the  map  of  America  will  show  that  a  junction  of 
physical  force  for  any  bad  purpose  is  out  of  the  question,  and 
the  union  would  therefore  confer  the  security  of  a  Legislature 
composed  of  persons  of  different  tempers  and  politics,  without 
bringing  with  it  the  risk  of  any  combination  hostile  to  the 
Empire. 

That  a  kingdom  so  situated  would  in  time  form  a  powerful 
check  to  the  United  States  of  America  cannot  be  doubted. 

It  ought  to  be  borne  in  mind  that,  as  an  independent 
nation,  the  United  States  have  hitherto  justified  no  expectation 
of  a  kindlier  feeling  towards  our  country  than  may  be  looked 
for  from  other  foreign  Powers.  On  the  contrary,  at  a  moment 
when  the  best  interests  of  the  civilised  world  depended  on  the 
unequal  contest  in  which  Great  Britain  was  engaged,  the 
United  States  joined  the  number  of  her  enemies,  in  the  con- 
fident assurance  that  she  must  sink  under  the  pressure.1 
Happily,  these  efforts  failed,  and  there  appears  no  reason, 

1  It  must  be  remembered   tbat  these  words  were  written  only  nine 
years  after  the  termination  of  the  War  of  1812-15. 


vii  URGES   CONFEDERATION  l<>7 


: 

cc 

I 


tb 

la 


. 


in  the  present  state  of  tilings,  to  apprehend  their  being  soon 

aewed. 

On  the  contrary,  the  most  amicable  relations  seem  to  be 
maintained,  with  equal  sincerity,  by  the  Governments  of  both 
countries. 

It   has   certainly  been  for  many  years  the  disposition  of 

rcat  Britain  to  avoid  all  cause  of  dissension  with  the  United 

tales  of  America.  If  indeed  an  alliance  so  natural  could  be 
firmly  and  lastingly  cemented,  it  would  be  happy  for  the 
interests  of  mankind;  it  would  create  a  power  which,  while 
it  would  be  competent  to  repress  the  designs  of  destructive 
ambition,  would  itself  threaten  no  ill  to  the  repose  or  the 
freedom  of  the  world. 

Before  I  leave  this  subject,  I  will  remark  that  if  the 
provinces  of  Canada  only  should  be  united,  as  it  is  proposed, 
the  preponderance  of  one  over  the  other  in  the  joint  Legis- 

ture,  unjustly  made  use  of,  might  possibly  occasion  so  >trong 
a  dissatisfaction  as  to  suggest  a  union  with  the  neighbouring 
States  as  an  escape  from  a  greater  evil. 

But  (he  continues)  I  am  not  one  of  those  who  accede 
readily  to  any  argument  of  this  nature,  because  I  do  not  admit 
the  probability  of  such  a  result. 


\Yhile  in  England,  he  actively  interested  himself 
various  other  public  questions  concerning  Canada, 
in  addition  to  that  which  formed  the  special  object  of 
his  mission,  and  was  constantly  in  communication 
with  those  holding  political  and  legal  posts  in  the 
Government,  meeting  frequently  with  Mr.  Wilmot 
(afterwards  Sir  Wilmot  Horton)  both  privately  and 
at  the  Colonial  Office. 

Among  the  matters  to  which  he  gave  much 
attention  was  that  of  emigration  to  Canada,  which 
his  brother  Peter l  also  had  warmly  taken  up.  The 
latter  superintended  the  emigration  of  a  large  body 

1   IVter  Robinson  had  much  to  do  with  the  settlement  of  Peterborough 
in  Upper  Canada,  which  was  named  after  him.     (See  chap.  xi.). 


168    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

of  Irish  emigrants  to  Canada  and  their  settlement 
there  about  this  period.  In  1824  he  writes  to  my 
father :- 

19  BUBY  STREET,  LONDON, 
20th  September  1824. 

DEAR  JOHN, — I  have  just  returned  from  Ireland,  where  I 
have  been  busily  employed  for  the  last  six  weeks  making  a 
selection  of  about  1000  persons  to  be  sent  out  early  in  April. 
Everywhere  I  was  received  in  the  kindest  manner  possible,  and 
the  friends  of  the  people  I  took  out  last  year  were  very  warm 
in  their  expressions  of  gratitude.  Lord  Kingston  sends  about 
400  persons  from  his  estate — he  was  civil  in  the  extreme,  and  I 
breakfasted  and  dined  daily  with  him  during  my  stay  in  his 
neighbourhood. 

I  spent  a  week  with  Lord  Ennismore's  family  near  Listowel, 
at  the  seat  of  the  Knight  of  Kerry,  very  pleasantly.  From 
thence  I  went  to  Killarney,  and  had  the  luck  to  be  in  time  for  a 
famous  stag-hunt,  a  treat  that  brings  people  from  all  quarters 
for  a  long  distance.  .  .  . — Your  affectionate  brother, 

P.  ROBINSON. 

That  these  emigrants  appreciated  the  interest  he 
took  in  them  is  shown  by  this  warm  expression  of  it 
in  an  address  to  Lord  Bathurst  in  1826  : — 

We  take  this  opportunity  of  expressing  to  your  Lordship 
how  much  of  gratitude  we  owe  to  the  Honourable  Peter 
Robinson,  our  leader,  our  adviser,  our  friend,  since  we  have 
been  under  his  direction,  and  particularly  for  his  exertions  in 
administering  to  our  comforts  during  a  season  of  sickness  and 
privation. 

We  have  reason  to  be  thankful  for  the  wisdom  and  discre- 
tion which  appointed  over  us  so  honourable,  kind,  and  inde- 
fatigable a  superintendent,  who  has  used  every  exertion  and 
care  in  providing  for  our  every  want. 

We  trust  that  our  orderly  conduct  as  members  of  society, 
and  steady  loyalty  as  subjects  of  the  British  Crown,  will  evince 
the  gratitude  we  feel  for  the  many  favours  we  have  received. 


MI  THE    IRISH   EMIGRANTS  169 

It  may  be  mentioned  here  that  Mr.  William 
Lyon  Mackenzie,  who  subsequently  headed  the 
Rebellion  in  Upper  Canada,  spoke  thus  of  these 
emigrants  in  the  Colonial  Advocate  of  8th  December 
1825  :- 

Mr.  Robinson's  Irish  Settlers. 

To  how  much  more  useful  a  purpose  might  o{?30,000  have 
been  expended  than  in  recruiting  in  Ireland  for  the  United 
States, 

leaning  apparently  that  these  Irishmen  would  not 
remain  contented  settlers  under  the  British  Govern- 
ment, but  would  soon,  either  voluntarily  or  from 
political  changes,  come  under  the  United  States 
flag. 

Events  did  not  bear  out  this  anticipation.  At 
first  there  was  some  difficulty  between  them  and 
other  settlers,  but  this  soon  passed  away,  and  Sir 
Francis  Head,  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Upper  Canada, 
writing  to  Sir  Wilmot  Horton  on  21st  May  1838, 

LUS  refers  to  the  loyal  and  active  support  which, 
in  the  Rebellion  twelve  years  later,  they  gave  to  the 
Government  :— 

These  settlers  were  among  those  who  at  once  marched 
(during  the  Rebellion)  from  the  Newcastle  district  in  the 
depths  of  winter,  nearly  one  hundred  miles,  to  support  the 
Government. 

On  finding  a  bodv  of  the  Honourable  Peter  Robinson's 
settlers,  self  assembled  in  line  before  Government  House,  I  went 
out  and  thanked  them,  to  which  they  replied  that  they  were 
doing  well  in  the  world,  that  they  felt  grateful  to  the  Govern- 
ment, and  had  come  to  fight  for  the  British  Constitution. 


170    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

And  he  writes  in  "  The  Emigrant  " 1  that,  when 
he  told  them  they  would  immediately  receive 
muskets  and  ammunition,  a  voice  from  the  ranks 
exclaimed  in  a  broad  Irish  brogue,  "  If  your  Honour 
will  but  give  us  arms,  the  rebels  will  find  the 
legs  !  " 

My  father  also,  in  alluding  to  their  services, 
writes  to  Sir  Wilmot  Horton : 2- 

I  am  glad  that  it  occurred  to  you  to  inquire  of  Sir  Francis 
Head  what  had  been  the  conduct  of  the  Irish  settlers  during 
the  late  unhappy  tumults  in  Upper  Canada.  There  was  some- 
thing remarkable  and  most  honourable  in  the  whole  bearing  of 
the  Irish  population  throughout  these  troubles.  There  were 
numerous  examples  of  men  of  every  origin — English,  Scotch, 
and  natives  of  the  province,  and  some  who  had  come  from  the 
United  States  of  America — doing  everything  that  could  be 
done  by  them  in  defence  of  their  country ;  but  I  think  it  was 
universally  felt  throughout  the  province  that  the  conduct  of 
the  Irish,  as  a  body,  was  pre-eminently  good. 

They  seemed  not  only  to  acknowledge  promptly  their 
obligation  to  support  their  Government  and  the  laws,  but 
they  discharged  their  duty  with  an  eager  forwardness,  and  a 
fine  hearty  warmth  of  feeling  that  it  was  really  quite  affecting 
to  witness. 

It  did  honour  to  Ireland,  and  it  showed  that  whatever  may 
be  the  vices  and  errors  of  the  Irish  peasantry,  hatred  to  their 
Sovereign  and  ingratitude  to  their  Government  are  not  among 
the  number. 

You  may  safely  entertain  the  persuasion  that  there  is  no 
one  public  object  which  the  people  of  Upper  Canada  and  the 
Legislature  feel  a  stronger  desire  to  promote  than  an  extensive 


1  "  The  Emigrant,"  by  Sir  Francis  B.  Head  (1846). 

2  From  a  pamphlet  by  Sir  Wilmot  Horton,  containing  his  correspond- 
ence with  my  father  upon  the  subject  of  a  pamphlet  entitled  "  Ireland 
and  Canada/'  published  1839. 


r 


VII 


THE   CLERGY   RESERVES  171 


emigration  from  the  mother  country.     It  adds  at  once  to  the 
value   of  property   in  the  province,  furnishes   employment  to 

mechanics,  provides  labourers  for  the  farmers,  and   infuses  life 
and  activity  into  every  department. 

In  the  spring  of  1825  the  question  of  the  "  Clergy 
Reserves  "  and  their  disposal,  which  was  for  a  long 
time  a  burning  one  in  Upper  Canada,  took  my  father 
nee  more  to  England. 

Into  its  nature  I  will  enter  a  little  further  on, 
first  quoting  here  what  he  himself  says  as  to  the 
period  1825-27.  On  this  visit  to  England,  he  left 
my  mother  and  the  children  in  Toronto,  and  was 
away  only  a  short  time. 


In  1825  I  went  again  to  England  to  represent  to  the 
Government  the  ruinous  sacrifice  which  would  be  made  of  the 
provision  for  the  support  of  a  Protestant  clergy  in  Upper 
Canada,  if  the  sale  which  the  British  Government  proposed  to 
make  of  the  Clergy  Reserves  to  the  Canada  Company  should  he 
allowed  to  go  into  effect. 

The  Commissioners  appointed  to  fix  the  price  had  made  so 
ow  an  estimate  of  the  value  of  all  these  reserves  scattered 
through  the  several  townships,  that  upon  the  terms  agreed 
upon  of  paying  for  them  in  fifteen  annual  instalments,  without 
interest,  the  price  per  acre  would  be  about  2s.  Id.  I  insi>tcd 
upon  it,  and  offered  to  demonstrate  before  any  tribunal,  that 
this  could  not  be  just,  and  could  not  be  warranted  by  any 
evidence  which  the  Commissioners  had  received. 

The  Secretary  of  State  considered  that  he  could  not,  in  the 
face  of  such  a  statement,  allow  the  sale  to  be  completed  as  far 
as  regarded  the  Clergy  Reserves  without  an  investigation  ;  and 
I  was  accordingly  called  upon  to  support  my  account  of  the 
matter. 

A  Master  in  Chancery,  Sir  Griffin  Wilson,  was  appointed 
to  hear  the  Commissioners,  who  were  all  then  in  London,  on 


172    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

the  one  side,  and  me  on  the  other,  and  to  make  his  report.  I 
asked  for  and  obtained  the  mass  of  evidence  on  which  the  Com- 
missioners had  professed  to  found  their  report,  and  I  proved, 
by  a  minute  dissection  of  it,  that  it  led  immediately  to  the 
conclusion  that  the  reserves  were  worth  upon  an  average  7s.  per 
acre. 

Sir  Griffin  Wilson  determined  the  controversy  wholly  in 
my  favour,  and  reported  to  the  Government  that  they  could 
not,  in  justice  to  the  claimants  upon  the  Clergy  Reserve  Fund, 
suffer  the  sale  to  be  perfected.  The  consequence  was  that  all 
the  Clergy  Reserves  were  withdrawn  from  the  sale,  and  the 
Canada  Company  received  in  lieu  of  them  an  equal  or  perhaps 
greater  quantity  of  land  in  the  Huron  tract,  a  beneficial 
exchange  for  the  country,  and  I  believe  also  for  the  Company. 
What  has  since  occurred  has  put  it  beyond  doubt  that  I  was 
much  within  the  mark  in  the  value  which  I  placed  upon  the 
Clergy  Reserves. 

I  thought,  at  the  time,  that  this  was  one  of  the  most  useful 
acts  of  public  service  that  I  had  had  it  in  my  power  to  perform ; 
but  subsequent  political  measures  and  movements  have  much 
diminished  its  importance,  and  even  threaten  a  total  destruc- 
tion of  the  Clergy  Fund,  which  I  perhaps  saved  on  that 
occasion  to  very  little  purpose. 

Writing  from  London  to  Dr.  Strachan  on  6th 
July  1825,  just  before  his  return  to  Canada,  and 
alluding  to  the  proposed  sale  of  the  Clergy  Reserve 
lands  to  the  Canada  Company,  he  says  :— 

The  Government  acceded  to  my  proposition  of  assigning  to 
the  Church  such  a  portion  of  the  new  purchase  as  might  be 
deemed  equivalent  to  the  800,000  acres  of  Clergy  Reserves. 

Mr.  Horton  has  taken  the  alarm  even  at  this  late  stage, 
and  written  a  letter  to  the  Commissioners  on  the  part  of  the 
Government  which  must  draw  from  them  a  contradiction  or 
confirmation  of  my  view  of  the  matter.  Mr.  Horton  declares 
if  what  I  say  is  right  the  Government  must  reverse  the  whole 
thing  and  have  another  valuation  made.  I  left  him  full  of  it. 


VII 


THE   CLERGY   RESERVES  173 


If  Harvey  supports  me,  Lord   Rithurst  and   Mr.  Ilorton  will 
not  incur  the  odium  of  completing  such  a  bargain. 

My  great  satisfaction  is  that  my  opinion  is  re-corded,  and  its 
correctness  can  be  verified  and  soon  will  be.      Just  now  the 

f)cess  is  fermenting.     It  is  clear  to  me  that  the  Government 
1   that  they  have  done  a  most  unwise  thing,  and  they  feel 
o  that  they  can  take  no  step  without  incurring  the  reproach 
extreme  improvidence  in  their  former  arrangements. 
I 


Later   on   (29th   January   1827)   he   writes  thus 
*om   Canada   to   Dr.    Strachan,  who   was   then   in 
England,1  upon  the  subject  of  these  Reserves :— 


E 

Sill 

E 


The  matter  more  important  than  everything  else  put 
together  is  the  new  mode  of  attack  upon  the  Church.2  .  .  . 

In  England  where  the  clergy  are  supported  by  tithes, 
hich  persons  of  all  sects  have  to  pay,  and  in  Ireland,  win-re 
tithes  are  collected  from  the  great  mass  of  a  people  detesting 
e  Church  which  they  support,  it  is  no  wonder  that  the  Est  ib- 
ishment  is  in  some  quarters  the  subject  of  complaint ;  but 
surely  no  man  but  a  modern  philosopher  would  for  a  moment 
ntend  that  in  England  and  Scotland  the  moral  state  of 

iety  is  not  to  be  mainly  attributed  to  their  national  churches 
which,  supported  as  they  are,  ensure  the  blessings  of  religious 
instruction  to  all  classes. 

Here,  the  people  of  Upper  Canada  inhabit  a  country  con- 
quered by  the  blood  and  treasure  of  England.  The  dominion 
of  the  soil  was  in  the  Crown  by  conquest.  With  a  foresight 
most  happily  provident,  one-seventh  of  that  land,  which  was 
wholly  at  the  King's  disposal,  was  reserved  to  form  a  support 
for  a  clergy  to  dispense  religious  instruction  among  the  people, 
and  to  minister  to  the  holy  services  of  our  Church. 

Was  this  more  than  a  wise  and  reasonable  measure  towards 


1  For  the  purpose  of  obtaining  a  Charter  for  the  University  of  King's 
College,  Toronto. 

3  The  proposal  to  sell  the  Reserves  and  apply  the  proceeds  to  purposes 
of  education. 


174    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

advancing  the  future  happiness  of  those  who  were  yet  to 
become  inhabitants  of  this  province,  and  did  not  all  come  here 
with  the  knowledge  that  provision  was  made  for  supporting  the 
national  Church  ? 

Let  it  but  be  confirmed  and  placed  beyond  the  hope  of 
envy  and  the  reach  of  malice,  and,  before  fifty  years  elapse, 
the  Church  will  want  no  better  defenders  than  the  representa- 
tives of  the  people. 

Your  university  will  aid  us.  I  write  this  in  extreme  haste 
and  must  draw  to  a  conclusion,  but  how  gladly  would  I  plead 
the  cause  of  the  Church  against  the  attacks  of  those  who  rail 
at  her. 

You  must  by  this  time  have  your  university  charter,  on 
which  I  heartily  congratulate  you  and  myself,  for  my  two  boys 
are  ripening  for  it.  To  have  achieved  this  measure  will  be  a 
lasting  and  unspeakable  pleasure  to  you,  and  confer  the  greatest 
honour  on  your  memory  when  generations  have  passed  away. 
I  cannot  conceive  what  other  service  so  valuable  it  can  ever  be 
in  the  power  of  an  individual  to  make  to  Upper  Canada. 

In  connection  with  this  question  of  the  Clergy 
Reserves  and  their  secularisation,  which  was  sub- 
sequently carried  into  effect,  1  must  explain  that  in 
the  year  1791,  when  Upper  Canada,  of  which  the 
population  was  mainly  Protestant,  was  first  made 
into  a  separate  province,  a  British  statute  was 
passed  (31  George  III.,  ch.  31)  for  the  special 
purpose  of  making  provision  for  the  support  of  a 
Protestant  clergy  in  the  Canadas,  as  had  already 
been  secured  to  the  Roman  Catholic  clergy  in  the 
old  Province  of  Quebec  by  the  Treaty  preceding 
the  surrender  of  Canada  in  1759,  and  by  Act  of  the 
British  Parliament  in  1774. 

In  the  provisions  of  this  statute,  it  was  declared 
to  be  its  object  "to  make  a  permanent  appropriation 
of  lands  in  the  said  Provinces  for  the  support  and 


vii  THE   CLERGY   RESERVES  175 

maintenance  of  a  Protestant  Clergy,"  and  it  was 
directed  that  "for  the  purpose  of  more  effectually 
fulfilling  his  Majesty's  intentions  in  this  respect  and 
of  providing  for  the  due  execution  of  the  same  in  all 
time  to  come,"  certain  allotments  of  the  Crown  lands 
in  Canada  were  to  be  made,  and  secured  in  the 
future.  It  was  further  laid  down  that  the  profits 
arising  from  such  lands  should  "be  applicable  solely 
to  the  maintenance  and  support  of  a  Protestant 
Clergy  within  the  Province  in  which  the  same  shall 
be  situated,  and  to  no  other  use  or  purpose  whatever." 

Authority  was  also  given  to  "  constitute  and 
erect  within  every  township  or  parish  one  or  more 
parsonage  or  rectory,  or  parsonages  or  rectories, 
according  to  the  Establishment  of  the  Church  of 
England,"  and  endow  them  with  a  portion  of  such 
otted  lands. 

Power  to  vary  or  repeal  the  provisions  of  the  Act 
was  vested  in  the  Canadian  Legislature,  subject  to 
the  approval  of  the  Imperial  Parliament  and  the 
Crown. 

At  the  time  this  Act  was  passed,  the  Protestant 
denominations  not  in  communion  with  the  Church 
of  England  formed  a  comparatively  small  body,  and 
the  opinion  held  by  Anglican  Churchmen  that  the 
intention  of  the  Act  was  solely  to  provide  for  the 
clergy  of  that  Church  has  this  in  support  of  it,  that 
for  some  thirty  years  after  the  passing  of  the  Act,  no 
attempt  whatever  was  made  to  call  in  question  the 
exclusive  right  of  the  Church  of  England  to  the 
"  Clergy  Reserves."  The  Church  of  Scotland  then 
put  in  a  claim  to  a  share  of  them,  which  was  eventu- 
ally conceded  to  it,  as  being  both  a  Protestant  and 
an  established  Church. 


- 


176    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

This  was  soon  succeeded  by  claims  from  various 
denominations  of  dissenting  but  Protestant  bodies, 
who  were  becoming  more  numerous  in  Canada. 

In  November  1819,  the  law  officers  of  the  Crown 
in  England  delivered  the  opinion  that  the  provisions 
of  the  Act  did  not  extend  to  other  Protestant  bodies 
than  the  Churches  of  England  and  Scotland,  "  since 
the  terms  '  Protestant  Clergy '  can  apply  only  to  the 
Protestant  Clergy  recognised  and  established  by 
law."  .  .  .  The  question  was  not,  however,  brought 
to  any  decision  in  Parliament,  and  the  claims  of  the 
various  Protestant  denominations  to  participate  in 
the  Reserves  continued  to  be  persistently  pressed. 

In  1831  a  Bill  passed  the  House  of  Assembly 
that  these  Reserves  might  be  devoted  to  purposes  of 
education,  but  was  unanimously  rejected  by  the 
Legislative  Council,  who  addressed  the  King,  pray- 
ing him  and  the  Imperial  Parliament  to  preserve  to 
Upper  Canada  this  permanent  provision  for  the 
support  of  public  worship. 

In  this  address,  signed  by  my  father  as  Speaker 
of  the  Council,  the  following  paragraphs  occur : — 

We  observe  with  great  concern  the  efforts  which  are  being 
made  in  this  colony  to  inculcate  the  opinion  that  it  is  an 
infringement  of  liberty  to  make  provision  for  the  support  of 
the  Christian  religion  by  maintaining  some  form  of  public 
worship,  even  though  such  a  provision  should  be  made  (as  in 
this  province  it  has  been  made)  without  imposing  a  burthen 
upon  any  class  of  the  people,  and  without  subjecting  to  any 
civil  disability  those  persons  who  profess  a  different  faith. 

As  one  of  the  branches  of  the  Legislature  of  this  colony, 
we  feel  it  to  be  our  duty  to  declare  our  dissent  from  such  a 
position,  as  being  directly  repugnant  to  principles  which  have 
been  long  and  firmly  established  in  every  part  of  the  British 
Empire,  and  expressly  at  variance  with  the  original  constitution 


in 

• 


vii  THE  CLERGY  RESERVES  177 

of  this  province,  and  with  the  sacred  pledge  given  by  your 
Majesty's  late  royal  father,  when  Canada  became  a  British 
province. 

.  .  .  Concurring  in  the  recommendation  of  his  Majesty, 

the  Parliament  of  Great  Britain,  by  the  statute  31  George  III. 
eh.  J)l,  made  a  provision  for  the  support  of  a  Protestant  clergy 
in  this  province,  in  the  terms  of  the  royal  message,  and 
secured  it  bv  enactments  so  direct  and  positive,  and  so  par- 
ticular in  their  details,  that  there  can  be  no  part  of  the  British 
Empire  in  which  a  public  provision  for  the  maintenance  of  reli- 
gion stands  on  plainer  ground  than  in  the  provinces  of  Canada. 

In  the  end   (in   1840)   the  contention   as  to  the 
Clergy  Reserves,'1  which  had  been  a  cause  of  much 
agitation    and    bitter    feeling    for   many    years,    was 
finally  set  at  rest  by  the  passage  of  a  Bill  through 
e    Canadian    Parliament,   which   was    approved   in 
England,  directing  their  secularisation. 

I'nder  its  provisions,  to  quote  from  Canadian 
history : l — 

The  Reserves  were  handed  over  to  the  various  municipal 
corporations  for  secular  purposes,  and  a  noble  provision,  made 
for  the  sustentation  of  religion,  frittered  away  so  as  to  produce 
ut  very  few  beneficial  results. 

.  .  .  The  Pormis.sorv  Act  of  the  Imperial  Parliament  had 
rved  the  life  interest  of  incumbents.  These  interests  were 
now  commuted  by  the  Canadian  Act  of  Secularisation,  with 
the  consent  of  the  clergymen  themselves,  and  the  foundation  of 
a  small  permanent  endowment  was  thus  made. 

The  endowment  of  the  Church  by  the  State  was 
thus  practically  put  an  end  to  in  Upper  Canada, 
though  in  the  Lower  Province  the  rich  possessions  of 
the  lloman  Catholic  Church,  secured  to  them  by  the 
terms  of  the  capitulation  of  Canada,  remained  and  still 
remain  undisturbed. 


MacMulleu's  "History  of  Canada/'  p. 

M 


178   SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

Throughout  this  controversy  my  father  fought 
the  battle  of  the  Church  of  England  to  the  utmost  of 
his  power,  being  both  firmly  convinced  of  her  legal 
rights  and  an  attached  member  of  her  communion ; 
but  while  he  held  the  view  that  the  religious  instruc- 
tion of  the  people  should  be,  on  grounds  both  of  duty 
and  policy,  the  first  care  of  the  State,  he  was  neither 
hostile  to  denominations  of  the  Church  other  than 
his  own,  nor  indisposed  to  give  his  practical  aid  to 
them  in  their  efforts  to  do  good. 

This  cannot  be  better  illustrated  than  by  giving 
some  extracts  from  a  letter  addressed  by  him  on  the 
12th  April  1842  to  the  editor  of  The  Church  news- 
paper, in  which,  in  an  extract  from  the  Christian 
Guardian  and  an  editorial  article,  he  had  been  held 
up  to  unqualified  reprehension  for  having  granted  a 
site  at  Holland  Landing  to  the  Canada  Conference 
for  a  Methodist  Church,  thus  "  setting  an  erroneous 
and  pernicious  example." 

After  explaining  that  the  land  forming  the  site 
had  come  to  him  after  the  death  of  his  brother  Peter, 
who  had  in  his  lifetime  promised  it  for  the  purpose  in 
question,  my  father  adds  that  even  without  this  he 
would  have  been  disposed  to  yield  to  the  request  for 
it,  and  says  : — 

It  would  by  no  means  have  been  the  first  act  of  the  kind  for 
which  I  have  to  answer,  nor  is  it  very  probable  that  it  would 
have  been  the  last. 

I  do  not  consider  the  inference  a  just  one  that  by  acts  of 
assistance  of  this  nature  to  other  religious  societies,  when 
occasion  seems  to  call  for  it,  I  give  any  evidence  of  an  impres- 
sion that  "  there  is  no  material  difference  between  the  Church 
and  Dissent."  It  argues  rather,  I  think,  a  conviction — which 
I  do  seriously  entertain — that  there  is  a  "  material  difference 


; 


vii  RELIGIOUS   TOLERANCE  179 

between  an  ignorance  of  all  religious  truths,  and  the  being 
instructed  in  those  truths  by  teachers  who  may  differ  from  us 
in  several  points  of  discipline  and  even  of  doctrine,  while  they 
zealously  and  fervently  inculcate  the  main  articles  of  our 
faith. 

In  travelling  through  the  rural  portions  of  Lower  Canada, 
the  most  agreeable  objects  in  the  landscape,  to  my  eye,  were 
e  numerous  parish  churches,  although  they  were  Roman 
Catholic;  and  if  Providence  had  cast  my  lot  there  among  a 
French  population,  and  the  question  whether  they  should  have  a 
church  to  worship  in  or  not  had  depended  upon  my  giving  them 
a  few  feet  of  ground  on  which  to  place  it,  I  believe  I  should  have 
settled  the  question  in  the  allinnative,  not  doubting  that  I  was 
serving  the  cause  of  religion,  and  doing  some  good  to  my 
fellow-creatures. 

.  .  .  My  opinions  on  this  subject  may  very  possibly  be 
influenced  bv  circumstances  which  are  not  of  universal  applica- 
tion, but  which  I  think  it  would  not  become  those  who  know 
them  to  leave  out  of  account. 

Before  you  were  born  probably,  and  at  least  before  you  had 
heard  of  Canada,  I  was  in  the  habit  of  travelling  annually  into 
the  remotest  districts  of  this  province  in  the  discharge  of 
duties  connected  with  the  administration  of  justice. 

Frequently,  in  the  most  lonely  parts  of  the  wilderness,  in 
townships  where  a  clergyman  of  the  Church  of  England  had 
never  been  heard,  and  probably  never  seen,  I  have  found  the 
population  assembled  in  some  log  building,  earnestly  engaged 
in  acts  of  devotion,  and  listening  to  those  doctrines  and  truths 
which  are  inculcated  in  common  by  most  Christian  denomina- 
tions, but  which,  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  ministration  of 
dissenting  preachers,  would  for  thirty  years  have  been  but 
little  known,  if  at  all,  to  the  greater  part  of  the  inhabitants  of 
the  interior  of  Upper  Canada. 

...  I  am  persuaded  that  but  for  their  zealous  labours 
there  would  have  been  thousands  and  tens  of  thousands  of  our 
people  who  would  have  grown  up  in  utter  forgetfulness  or 
ignorance  of  every  Christian  doctrine  or  duty — strangers  to 
any  observance  of  the  Sabbath,  unmindful  of  the  superintend- 


180    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

ing  providence  of  God,  uninitiated  in  any  truth  of  the  Gospel, 
and  without  any  serious  sense  of  their  accountability  in  a 
future  state. 

It  was  indeed  bad  enough,  and  is  still  bad  enough  in  many 
parts  of  this  new  country,  with  all  that  has  been  done  or  could 
be  done,  in  the  absence  of  that  effectual  provision  which  the 
Government  of  the  parent  State  could  alone  have  supplied ;  but 
if  there  had  been  no  ministers  in  Canada  but  the  few  clergy- 
men of  our  Church,  zealous  and  enlightened  as  they  were,  I 
fear  it  would  have  often  happened  that  the  obligation  of  an 
oath  would  have  been  imposed  upon  jurors  and  witnesses  whose 
first  and  only  acquaintance  with  the  Scriptures  would  have 
commenced  when  the  Gospels  were  put  into  their  hands  in  a 
Court  of  Justice. 

I  have  that  confidence  in  what  I  believe  to  be  truth — that 
admiration  of  the  rational  doctrines,  the  pure  worship,  the 
incomparable  liturgy,  the  just  and  tolerant  spirit  of  our 
Church — that  I  do  sincerely  believe  that  the  time  will  come 
when  those  who  have  separated  themselves  from  her  will  gladly, 
and  of  their  own  accord,  return  under  her  shelter. 

If  we  could  see  this  in  our  own  time,  I  believe  we  should 
see  the  consummation  of  an  object  more  desirable  than  all 
others  for  the  happiness  of  mankind  ;  that,  hoMrever,  we  cannot 
expect.  In  the  meanwhile  I  apprehend  we  shall  not  be  hasten- 
ing its  approach  by  exhibiting  in  our  conduct  or  our  language 
that  jealous  spirit  which  is  an  argument  of  weakness  rather 
than  of  strength,  which  draws  no  distinction  between  the  worst 
superstitions  of  paganism  arid  any  peculiarity  of  doctrine  and 
form  which  may  separate  from  our  communion  the  most  in- 
offensive and  Jealous  of  our  Christian  brethren. 


It  may  not  inappropriately  be  mentioned  here 
that  in  1828,  when  the  "Religious  Denominations 
Bill"  was  before  the  House  of  Assembly  in  Upper 
Canada,  my  father,  then  Attorney- General,  voted 
with  the  advanced  Liberals  in  favour  of  the  measure 
—which  had  for  its  object  to  confer  on  all  religious 


MI  RELIGIOUS   TOLERANCE  181 

denominations  the  power  to  appoint  trustees  to  hold 
hind  in  perpetuity  for  the  purposes  of  meeting-ho; 
chapels,  or  hurial-grounds. 

There  were  several  who  opposed  the  measure, 
and  Mr.  Read1  says  with  respeet  to  this:— 

This  shows  that  Mr.  Robinson  by  his  acts  evinced  his  high 
regard  for  the  early  settlers  of  the  country  of  whatever  faith  or 
political  complexion. 

Between  the  time  of  my  father's  first  election  (in 
1821)  as  member  for  York  (now  Toronto)  in  the 
House  of  Assembly  and  the  year  18*21),  when  he 
went  upon  the  Bench,  he  continuously  represented 
York  in  Parliament,  being  twice  re-elected,  and  was 
very  actively  engaged  in  legal  and  Parliamentary 
duties. 

His  earlier  circuits  were  not  unfrequently  made  on 
horseback  with  saddle-bags,  as  the  most  convenient 
method  of  travelling  over  many  of  the  country  roads, 
and  lie  was,  on  account  of  his  practice  and  from 
being  Attorney-General,  regarded  as  head  of  the 
Bar  in  Upper  Canada. 

By  early  association,  education,  and  conviction, 
he  was  a  Conservative  in  politics,  a  strong  supporter 
of  the  Crown  and  of  British  connection,  and  a  firm 
advocate  for  the  union  between  Church  and  State. 

During  his  Parliamentary  career  he  was  often  in 
active  conflict  with  the  Liberal  opposition,  for  he 
soon  became  what  may  be  termed  the  leader  of 
the  Government  (or  Conservative)  party  ;  but  it  is 
gratifying  to  know  that,  with  but  very  few  excep- 
tions, both  opponents  and  friends  have  alike  acknow- 

1  Read's  "  Lives  of  the  Judges"  (1888). 


182    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 
0 

ledged   that   he   was   never   actuated   by   unworthy 

motives,  was  courteous  to  all,  and  free  from  bigotiy. 
A   writer   in   one   of  the  Canadian  papers  thus 
describes  him  at  the  time  he  was  Attorney-General 
and  in  Parliament : — 

And  first  the  King's  Attorney  rose, 
Polite  alike  to  friends  and  foes, 
Who  in  strict  justice  takes  such  pride 
He  seems  not  fee'd  on  either  side. 

His  work  was  very  hard  and  unremitting,  and  no 
doubt  told  subsequently  upon  his  health.  Writing 
in  1827  to  Dr.  Strachan,  then  in  England,  he 
says : — 

Our  session  began  on  the  5th  December.  From  that  day 
to  the  present,  I  have  been  constantly  at  work.  Besides  the 
business  of  my  office,  always  increased  by  the  session,  and  the 
bringing  forward  and  supporting  every  measure  of  Government, 
I  am  placed  on  almost  every  committee.  Projects  for  im- 
provements multiply  upon  us,  local  objects  exciting  conflicting 
interests  and  feelings  are  to  be  adjusted,  and  I  find  that  the 
labour  generally  devolves  upon  me  of  putting  things  in  shape 
and  devising  the  details. 

I  am  now  on  more  than  twenty  committees,  and  unless  by 
constant  application  I  hasten  business,  the  session  must  be 
protracted,  and  I  must  be  the  greatest  sufferer  in  every  respect 
by  such  a  consequence. 

I  decline  nothing  of  this  kind,  because  I  find  that  it  tends 
to  place  me  on  the  best  ground  in  the  House — but  it  is 
horribly  fagging  work. 

In  some  works  upon  Canadian  history  my  father 
has  been  more  or  less  condemned  for  voting  in  1822, 
when  Attorney-General,  that  Mr.  Bidwell1  should 

1  Mr.  Barnabas  Bidwell,  who  had  been  returned  as  member  for 
Lennox  and  Addiugton. 


vii  MR.    BIDWELL  183 

be  debarred  from  holding  a  seat  in  Parliament ;  also 
for  introducing  the  Alien  Bills  in  1824;  for  his 
association  with  what  was  termed  "  The  Family 
Compact " ;  and  for  conducting,  as  Attorney-Gene- 
ral, certain  prosecutions  for  libel,  deemed  by  some 
narrow-minded  and  tyrannous. 

He  does  not  touch  upon  any  of  these  matters  in 
his  memoranda,  and  I  imagine  considered  it  to  be 
unnecessary ;  but  it  may  not  be  improper  that  I 
should  allude  to  them,  especially  as,  were  I  not  to, 
my  motive  for  silence  might  be  misunderstood.  In 
doing  so,  I  shall  abstain  from  quoting  from  those 
writers  who  have  supported  my  father's  general  policy, 
as  what  they  say  might  to  some  extent  be  biassed  in 
his  favour. 

The  matters  of  Mr.  Bidwell  and  the  Alien  Bills 
may  be  fittingly  taken  together. 

The  Alien  Bills,  or  "  Bills  for  conferring  Civil 
Rights  "  on  certain  inhabitants  of  the  Upper  Province, 
were  in  fact  liberal  in  their  object,  and  meant  to 
place  beyond  all  dispute  the  position  in  Canada  of 
many  who  were  not  by  law  recognised  as  British 
subjects,  as  well  as  their  power  to  dispose  of  their 
property. 

There  were  in  Upper  Canada  many  residents 
formerly  citizens  of  the  United  States,  and  many 
officers  and  soldiers  of  foreign  corps  who  had  received 
grants  of  land  and  settled  in  the  province.  These 
had  been  allowed  practically  to  exercise  all  the 
privileges  of  British  subjects,  but  were  not  regarded 
as  such  by  the  law. 

A  measure  to  remedy  this  anomaly  was  deemed 
necessary  by  the  Colonial  Office  in  the  interest  of 
individuals  and  their  estates,  and  the  legal  question 


184    SIR  JOHN  BEVEKLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

of  what  did,  and  what  did  not,  constitute  an  alien 
was  one  of  the  main  points  involved. 

When  the  Bills  were  first  introduced,  a  majority  of 
the  House  of  Assembly  had  contended  that  no  one 
who  had  been  born  in  British  America  before  1783  l 
could  ever  be  regarded  as  an  alien,  and  that  the 
children  and  grandchildren  of  those  Americans  born 
before  1783  must,  as  the  children  and  grandchildren 
of  British  subjects,  be  themselves  British  subjects. 

This  contention  my  father  from  the  very  first  had 
differed  from,  and  the  Chief-Justice  of  England,  in  an 
important  case  of  Thomas  v.  Acklam,  4  D.  &  R.  394, 
2  B.  &  C.  779  (1824),  had  ruled  in  a  sense  completely 
opposed  to  it. 

This  case  arose  upon  the  trial  of  an  ejectment 
brought  by  one  Thomas  and  his  wife,  Frances  Mary 
Thomas,  to  recover  possession  of  some  real  estate  in 
Yorkshire.  It  was  found  by  the  jury,  by  a  special 
verdict,  that  the  wife  had  proved  herself  the  next 
heir  to  the  person  who  had  died  seized  of  the  estate, 
provided  she  could  by  law  inherit. 

The  grandfather  of  Frances  Mary  Thomas,  a 
native  of  England,  had  emigrated  to  New  Haven, 
in  the  State  of  Connecticut,  then  a  British  colony, 
where  he  was  appointed  collector  of  his  Majesty's 
Customs,  arid  died  while  holding  that  office  in  1775. 

He  left  several  children,  all  of  whom  died  without 
issue  except  one  daughter,  Elizabeth.  She,  on  the 
22nd  October  1781,  married  James  Ludlow,  who  was 
born  in  the  State  of  New  York,  then  one  of  the 
British  Colonies,  and  remained  there  after  the  separa- 
tion of  the  American  Colonies  from  the  Crown. 

1  The  independence  of  the  United  States  was  acknowledged  by  the 
Crown  of  Great  Britain  3rd  September  1783. 


vii  THE   ALIEN    BILLS  18.5 

Elizabeth  Ludlmv  died  in  the  year  1700  in  the 
I'nited  States  of  America,  leaving  an  only  dauo-hter, 
Frances  Mary  Ludlow,  born  at  Newport,  in  the 
Tinted  States,  4th  February  1784,  who  married  Mr. 
Thomas  in  the  United  States  in  1807,  and  was  the 
Frances  Mary  Thomas,  the  claimant  in  this  case. 

The  question  of  law  which,  upon  the  special 
verdict  of  the  jury,  was  left  to  be  decided  by  the 
Court  of  King's  Bench,  was  whether,  under  these 
circumstances,  Frances  Mary  Thomas  could  inherit 
lands  in  England  ;  and  the  Chief-Justice  of  England, 
Abbott,  C.J.,  delivering  the  judgment  of  the  Court 
of  King's  Bench,  before  which  the  case  was  brought, 
said  : — 

James  Ludlow,  the  father  of  Frances  Mary,  was  undoubtedly 
born  a  subject  of  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain ;  he  was  born  in 
a  part  of  America  which  was  at  the  time  of  his  birth  a  British 
colony,  and  parcel  of  the  dominions  of  the  Crown  of  Great 
Britain  ;  but  upon  the  facts  found  we  are  of  opinion  that  he 
was  not  a  subject  of  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain  at  the  time  of 
the  birth  of  his  daughter. 

.  .  We  are  of  opinion  that  James  Ludlow  had  ceased  to  be 
a  subject  of  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain,  and  became  an  alien 
thereto  before  the  birth  of  his  daughter,  and  consequently  that 
she  is  also  an  alien,  and  incapable  of  inheriting  land  in  England. 


Mr.  Ludlow  had  taken  no  active  part  during 
the  war,  and  had  never  abjured  his  allegiance  to 
Great  Britain.  He  was  also  a  member  of  a  family 
noted  for  their  loyalty  to  the  Crown,  and  his 
brother 1  had  lost  much  of  his  property  by  adherence 
to  the  royal  cause. 

1  Chief-Justice  Ludlow  of  New  Brunswick,  wlio>e  daughter  married 
John  Robinson,  Speaker  and  Treasurer  of  New  Brunswick,  a  sou  of 
Colonel  Beverley  Robinson. 


186   SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

This  decision  therefore  bore  with  all  the  greater 
severity  upon  his  daughter  Frances  Mary  Thomas, 
and  of  itself  showed  that  some  measure  in  the  in- 
terest of  persons  in  an  analogous  situation  was 
demanded  as  a  mere  act  of  justice. 

With  respect  to  the  case  of  Mr.  Bidwell,  he  was 
very  clearly  an  alien,  as  shown  further  on,  if  Mr. 
James  Ludlow  was  one,  and  it  was  solely  because 
my  father  as  Attorney- General  for  the  Crown  held 
the  opinion  that  he  was  an  alien  in  the  eye  of  the 
law,  that  he  opposed  his  being  permitted  to  sit  in 
Parliament,  and  moved  in  the  House  that  he  was 
"  an  alien,  and  therefore  incapable  of  being  elected." 

I  now  quote  from  my  father's  speech  in  com- 
mittee on  the  Bill,  December  5,  1825  : — 

Upon  the  events  of  the  war l  I  need  not  dwell.  These  are 
sufficiently  impressed  upon  the  recollection  of  us  all,  and  I 
am  happy  upon  this,  as  upon  every  other  occasion,  to  bear 
testimony  to  the  loyalty  and  good  conduct  of  a  very  great 
portion  of  those  people  who  had  emigrated  from  the  United 
States. 

It  is  this  evidence  of  their  general  disposition  which  has 
doubtless  made  his  Majesty's  Government  here  and  in  England 
desirous  that  all  apprehensions  and  difficulties  as  to  their 
civil  rights  should  be  removed,  and  that  they  should  hence- 
forward be  assured  of  finding  their  situation  in  all  respects  the 
same  as  if  they  had  been  born  in  the  province,  or  had  come 
from  any  part  of  his  Majesty's  dominions.  .  .  . 

It  is  evident  that  the  first  point  we  are  called  upon  to 
decide  is  whether  the  different  classes  of  persons  mentioned  in 
the  preamble  of  the  Bill  do,  in  fact,  stand  in  need  of  a  legisla- 
tive enactment  to  confirm  them  in  their  possessions,  and  to 
give  them  all  the  rights  of  British  subjects. 

1  Of  1812-15. 


- 

re1 

- 


MI  THE   ALIEN   BILLS  187 

It  is  impossible,  Sir,  for  me  to  be  in  any  doubt  on  this 
head.  .  .  . 

With  respect  to  our  settlers  from  the  United  States  v 
no  longer,  in  justice  to  them,  shut  our  eyes  to  the  truth  that 
many  of  them  at  least  are  subject  to  legal  disabilities,  which, 
as  it  is  intended  that  they  should  be  placed  on  the  same  foot- 
ing as  the  other  inhabitants  of  the  province,  it  is  iiL-c-ossary  to 
remove  by  some  positive  legislative  enactment. 

We  need  but  compare  the  facts  as  they  affected  the  case 
of  Mr.  Ludlow  with  those  which  affect  the  political  situation 
of  many  hundreds,  and  I  may  say  indeed  thousands,  who  are 
w  in  this  province,  to  be  convinced  of  that  necessity. 


And  further,  in  this  speech  he  takes  occasion  to 
refer  to  the  case  of  Mr.  Bidwell,  and  explain  the 
tion  which  he  had  taken  regarding  it,  as  follows : — 


It  had  been  proved  in  evidence  that  the  member  petitioned 
against  (Mr.  Barnabas  Bidwell)  was  born  in  one  of  the  present 
United  States  of  America  before  the  treaty  of  1783,  and  while 
\\as  part  of  the  British  dominions;  that  he  resided  in  that 
country  during  the  whole  period  of  the  Revolution ;  that  after 
the  .treaty  of  1783  he  had  remained  in  the  United  States,  had 
worn  allegiance  to  their  Government,  and  abjured  on  oath 
all  allegiance  for  ever  to  the  Crown  of  Great  Britain  ;  that  he 
had  held  offices  of  great  trust  and  confidence  in  the  United 
States  until  the  year  1809  or  1810,  when  he  removed  to  this 
province  where  he  had  since  resided,  without,  as  it  appeared, 
having  complied  with  the  provisions  of  any  British  statute 
under  which  he  could  have  been  naturalised.1 

Being  a  member  of  the  House  of  Assembly,  it  became  my 
duty  to  declare  my  opinion  on  oath,  and  I  did  so,  and  stated 
very  fully  the  reasons  on  which  I  had  formed  it.  Those  who, 
like  myself,  considered  the  sitting  member  ineligible  were  of 
opinion  that,  though  born  a  British  subject,  he  was  not  a 

1  Mr.  Bidwell,  after  his  arrival  in  Canada,  had  taken  the  Oath  of 
Allegiance,  but  this  was  not  held  to  confer,  without  the  fulfilment  of 
other  provisions,  the  privileges  of  a  natural-born  British  subject. 


188    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

natural-born  British  subject  at  the  time  of  his  election,  which 
they  conceived  was  intended  and  required  by  the  expression 
used  in  the  31st  of  the  late  King  .  .  .  that  the  individual  in 
this  instance  had  by  the  most  open  and  unequivocal  acts 
declared  his  election  to  be  a  member  of  the  new  Republic  by 
abjuring  his  former  Government,  and  that  he  became  as 
effectually  an  alien  with  respect  to  Great  Britain  as  if  he  were 
the  subject  of  any  foreign  Power  in  Europe.  He  did  not  claim 
or  pretend  to  have  been  naturalised,  but  on  the  contrary  main- 
tained that  the  circumstance  of  his  birth  alone  entitled  him, 
upon  the  principles  of  the  common  law  of  England,  to  be 
regarded  as  a  British  subject  without  the  aid  of  any  naturalis- 
ing act. 

It  can  be  seen  from  what  has  been  said  above 
how  much  less  ground  Mr.  Bidwell  had  to  be  viewed 
as  a  British  subject  than  Mr.  James  Ludlow. 

It  should  be  mentioned  also  that  in  1823,  at  an 
election  for  the  counties  of  Lennox  and  Addington, 
the  returning  officer  had  refused  to  receive  votes  for 
Mr.  Marshal  Spring  Bidwell,  the  son  of  Mr.  Barnabas 
Bidwell,  on  the  ground  that  he  also  as  well  as  his 
father  was  in  the  position  of  an  alien.  My  father 
was  in  England,  though,  when  this  question  was 
debated. 

It  is  a  satisfaction  and  pleasure  to  be  able  to 
give  the  following  extracts  from  a  letter,  written  on 
24th  February  1863,  by  Mr.  Marshal  Spring  Bidwell 
to  my  uncle,  W.  B.  Robinson,  condoling  with  him 
and  with  my  mother  upon  my  father's  death.  They 
tend  to  show  that  he  at  all  events  had  not  viewed 
my  father's  action  as  springing  from  any  want  of 
consideration,  or  from  a  loose  unwarranted  reading 
of  the  law. 

In  alluding  to  him  at  the  time  when  he  was 
Attorney-General,  he  says :— 


MI        LETTER  OF  M.   S.   BID  WELL        is?) 

I  remember  distinctly  the  first  time  I  sa\v  Mr.  Robinson. 
I  was  a  stndent-at-la\v,  and  had  gone  from  Bath  to  Toronto 
to  attend  the  Court  of  King's  Bench  at  Michaelmas  term. 
His  appearance  was  striking.  His  features  were  classically  and 
singularly  beautiful,  his  countenance  was  luminous  with  in- 
telligence and  animation;  his  whole  appearance  that  of  a  man 
of  genius  and  a  polished  gentleman,  equally  dignified  and 
graceful. 

Altogether  his  features,  figure,  and  manners  filled  my 
youthful  imagination  with  admiration,  which  subsequent  ac- 
quaintance and  opportunities  to  hear  him  at  the  Bar  and  in 
Parliament  only  strengthened,  and  which  was  not  diminished 
by  the  difference  between  us  in  our  views  and  opinions  upon 
public  affairs.  .  .  . 

I  heard  him  frequently  at  the  Bar,  and  on  some  occasions 
I  had  the  honour  to  be  junior  counsel  with  him.  He  was  a 
consummate  advocate,  as  well  as  a  profound  and  accurate 
lawyer. 

No  one  could   be  more  faithful.     He   studied  everv 
thoroughly,   examined    all    the    particular    circumstances,   and 
made   hiniM-lf  master  of  all   its  details.     He  was  sincere  and 
earnest  in  his  opinions,  uncompromising,  frank,  and  fearless  in 
the  expression  of  them. 

J  was  pivscnt  upon  those  occasions  in  Parliament  which 
aroused  him  to  great  exertions.  He  was  at  all  times  a  correct, 
interesting  speaker,  but  upon  these  occasions  he  spoke  with 
great  force  and  effect.  The  fire  of  his  eye,  the  animation  of 
his  countenance  and  his  manner,  combined  with  dignity,  can- 
not be  appreciated  bv  any  one  who  did  not  hear  him.  No 
report  of  his  speeches,  no  description  of  his  manner  and  appear- 
ance can  convey  to  others  a  just  and  adequate  idea. 

He  was  an  admirable  Parliamentary  leader.  He  never 
exposeil  himself  by  an  incautious  speech  or  act,  and  never 
failed  to  detect  or  expose  one  on  the  other  side.  He  never 
attempted  to  make  a  display  of  himself,  or  indulged  in  useless 
declamation ;  but  spoke  earnestly  and  for  the  purpose  of  pro- 
ducing an  immediate  effect. 

He  was  always  courteous,  communicative,  and  obliging. 


190    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

The  above  words,  written  long  after  the  heated 
controversies  of  these  days  were  over,  speak  equally 
for  Mr.  Bidwell's  heart  and  impartiality,  and  are 
much  prized  by  my  family. 

It  is  a  little  difficult  to  understand  why  these 
"famous  Alien  Bills,"  as  they  have  been  termed, 
excited  so  much  feeling  as  they  did  in  Canada. 

Some  writers  have  considered  that  they  were 
disliked  because  it  was  supposed  that  to  pass  them 
would  be  beneficial  to  the  Conservative  party,  and 
the  opponents  of  that  party  naturally  suspected  the 
cloven  foot  in  any  Liberal  measure  from  that  side  of 
the  House.  It  has  been  supposed  also  that  it  was 
then  considered  to  be  against  public  policy  to  offer 
encouragement  to  foreigners  to  become  British  sub- 
jects, although,  had  the  initiative  not  been  taken  by 
the  Conservatives,  the  Liberal  party  must  have  com- 
mitted itself  before  long  to  some  measure  of  the 
kind. 

Others  have  considered  it  due  to  the  provisions  of 
the  Bills  not  being  liberal  enough. 

Possibly  it  was  from  a  combination  of  these 
reasons,  added  to  the  not  unnatural  dislike  which 
many  of  those  who  had  practically  exercised  for 
years  the  privileges  of  subjects  felt  at  being  termed 
and  having  to  register  themselves  as  "  aliens." 

In  the  words  of  a  petition  sent  in  against  the 
Bill :  "  Their  feelings  were  wounded  beyond  expres- 
sion at  being  compelled  to  come  forward  in  a  foreign 
character,  at  the  peril  of  their  utter  ruin,  and  repeat 
that  allegiance  which  they  had  frequently  confirmed 
under  oath  and  sealed  with  their  blood." 


vii  THE   FAMILY  COMPACT  191 

My  father  says  in  his  speech  in  1825,  above 
quoted : — 

It  did  appear  to  me  that  the  suspicions  of  some  honourable 
nu'inlKTs  were  excited  lest  under  the  pretence  of  conferring  a 
benefit,  some  mischief  might  be  intended.  I  confess  that  on 
discovering  this,  I  was  influenced  by  a  feeling  of  indignation  to 
which  perhaps  I  ought  to  have  been  superior. 

The  term  "Family  Compact"  was  but  a  name 
for  those  holding  office  under  the  Conservative 
Government  of  the  day. 

Mr.  Read,  in  his  "Lives  of  the  Judges,"  says: 
"  There  are  not  wanting  writers  who  have  laid  to  the 
door  of  the  Family  Compact  all  the  sins  that  flesh 
was  heir  to  in  those  days  ;  "  and  a  recent  writer  upon 
Canada  at  this  period  says  :— 

The  term  "  Family  Compact " — first  applied,  it  seems,  by 
Mackenzie  in  18'33 — was  a  sneering  reference  to  the  Bourbon 
League  of  the  eighteenth  century. 

And  he  thus  alludes  to  its  leaders  : — 

Strachan  and  his  friends  were  emphatically  the  Tory  party 
of  Upper  Canada.  ...  As  became  Strachan's  pupils,  the  Tory 
leaders  were  keen  Anglicans,  and  felt  as  much  interest  in  the 
Clergy  Reserves  as  in  their  own  huge  grants  of  wild  lauds.1 

Very  possibly  the  name  "  Family  Compact"  was 
first  applied  by  William  Lyon  Mackenzie,  as  here 
stated ;  but  I  have  before  mentioned  how  my  father 
did  not  accept  such  a  grant  of  land  when  offered  to 
him  (Chapter  VI.  p.  150),  and  I  have  no  doubt  that 

1  "  Self-Government  in  Canada  and  how  it  was  Achieved  (the  Story  of 
Lord  Durham's  Report)  "  by  F.  Bradshaw,  B.A.  (1903). 


192    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

others  of  the  Conservative  party  would  have  acted  in 
precisely  the  same  way. 

Many  incidents  in  my  father's  career  show  that 
neither  land,  nor  office,  nor  money  were  ever  unduly 
sought  for  by  him,  and  in  an  allusion  which  he  makes 
in  1854  to  his  family,  though  not  in  connection  with 
the  Family  Compact,  he  says  : — 

My  father,  Christopher  Robinson,  left  three  sons,  all  of 
whom  were  like  himself  in  process  of  time  elected  to  the 
Assembly,  my  brothers  for  counties  and  I  myself  for  Toronto. 
All  have  been  members  of  the  Executive  Council  of  Upper 
Canada,  two  members  of  the  Legislative  Council,  and  all  three 
have  had  regiments  of  Militia.  I  believe  it  to  be  quite  true 
that  they  owed  their  appointments  to  no  applications  of  their 
own,  or  of  any  one  for  them. 

My  own  sons  have  never  applied,  and  I  have  never  applied 
for  them,  to  the  Government  for  any  office  of  any  kind,  and 
they  none  of  them  receive  a  shilling  from  the  public  revenue  of 
the  country  in  which  I  have  served  so  long.1 

I  will  only  add  to  this,  that  if  he  and  his 
brothers  held  appointments  often  under  the  Crown, 
they  were  also  elected,  some  of  them  again  and 
again,  to  the  House  of  Assembly  by  the  votes 
of  the  people  ;  and  that  Lord  Durham  himself,  in 
speaking  of  the  Compact,  says  in  his  report  : 
"  There  is,  in  truth,  veiy  little  family  connection 
among  the  persons  thus  united." 

The  fact  seems  to  be  that  the  Conservative  party 
at  this  time  was  largely  composed  of  the  earlier 
settlers  of  Canada,  or  their  descendants,  many  of 
whom  were  United  Empire  Loyalists,  though  it  is 

1  Many  years  after  my  father's  death,  my  brother,  John  Beverley 
Robinson,  became  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Ontario  (1880-87).  This 
was  not,  however,  in  the  days  of  the  C(  Family  Compact,"  but  under 
Responsible  Government. 


vii  THE   FAMILY   COMPACT  193 

ii  mistake  to  suppose  that  all  Loyalists  belonged 
to  the  Conservative  party  only.  In  that  party 
they  were  most  numerous,  but  they  were  to  be 
found  also  in  the  ranks  of  their  opponents.  Tli 
Loyalists  had  been  in  conflict  more  or  less  with 
the  United  States,  and  sufferers  from  the  prin- 
ciples of  a  republican  form  of  government  for 
upwards  of  a  generation  ;  and  in  the  events  of  the 
French  and  American  Revolutions,  which  may  be 
said  to  have  occurred  in  their  own  time,  had  seen 
much  of  the  evils  which  may  accompany  the  excess 
of  popular  power. 

In  the  twentieth  century,  when  we  are  far  re- 
moved from  these  events,  and  when  loyalty  to  the 
Sovereign  and  attachment  to  British  institutions 
are  so  firmly  established  throughout  the  Empire,  we 
can  hardly  realise  what  a  practical  matter  this 
"  loyalty"  to  the  representative  of  the  Crown  was 
at  this  period,  and  what  solid  ground  many  of  the 
Loyalists  had  to  distrust  those  who  were  not  known 
to  be  firm  supporters  of  authority  and  of  the  prin- 
ciples which  they  themselves  upheld. 

As  my  father  has  said  of  them  :  1- 

Their  feelings  sprang  from  a  pure  source.  Their  loyalty 
was  sincere,  for  it  led  to  the  sacrifice  of  property,  of  country,  of 
kindred,  and  friends.  By  some  it  has  been  ascribed  to  the 
influence  (it  would  indeed  be  an  excellent  influence)  of  an 
imaginary  "Family  Compact,"  or  what  they  have  called 
"  Oraogeum  ;  "  by  others,  to  an  innate  subserviency  to  power 
for  sordid  purposes  ;  to  anything,  in  short,  but  the  existence 
of  that  principle  which  teaches  us  to  stand  by  the  right 
through  good  report  and  evil  report,  and  to  cling  the  closer  to 


1  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill  "  (1839). 

N 


194    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

what   is  just    and   good   in    proportion    as    we   see   it   to   be 
ungenerously  assailed. 

The  claim  of  the  Loyalists,  of  all  political  parties, 
to  the  consideration  of  Government  rested  not  on 
party,  but  on  national  grounds. 

In  order  that  it  should  never  be  forgotten,  Lord 
Dorchester,  an  early  and  able  Governor  of  Canada, 
expressed  his  wish,  in  1789,  to  "  put  a  mark  of  honour 
upon  the  families  who  had  adhered  to  the  unity  of  the 
Empire  and  joined  the  Royal  Standard  in  America 
before  the  Treaty  of  Separation  in  the  year  1783." 

In  response  to  this  an  Order  in  Council  was  passed 
at  Quebec  (9th  November  1789)  to  register  these 
families,1  "to  the  end  that  their  posterity  may  be 
discriminated,"  for  "  distinguished  benefits  and  privi- 
leges." 

This  distinction,  extending  to  the  posterity  of 
those  it  honoured,  shows  the  light  in  which  Govern- 
ment in  1789  regarded  the  Loyalist  services ; 2  and 
in  the  War  of  1812-15  these  Loyalists,  and  their 
sons,  again  came  prominently  forward  to  preserve 
Canada  to  the  Crown. 

It  has  been  recently  said : 3 — 

In  considering  British  sentiment  in  Canada,  it  is  well  to 
remember  its  history.  The  founders  of  British  Canada  may 
fairly  be  called  "  the  first  of  the  Imperialists." 

To  the  "Family  Compact"  and  Conservative  party 
which  1  have  described  my  father  was  proud  to  belong. 

1  See  Appendix  A.,  viii.,  as  to  this. 

1  The  above  facts  explain  the  value  attached  to  the  letters  U.E.L.  by 
the  descendants  of  the  United  Empire  Loyalists.  It  is  based  upon  the 
"  mark  of  honour,"  conferred  over  a  century  ago,  by  an  Order  in 
Council,  at  the  instance  of  the  representative  of  the  King. 

3  Arthur  Gill,  letter  to  the  Morning  Post,  Sept.  29,  1903. 


MI          PROSECUTIONS    FOR    LIREI,         195 

On  the  subject  of  the  prosecutions  for  libel, 
which,  when  in  the  office  of  Attorney-General,  he 
deemed  it  right,  or  was  directed  by  Government,  to 
institute,  I  shall  say  very  little,  because  opinions  must 
often  differ  as  to  when  the  line  is  passed  beyond 
which  it  becomes  weakness  and  against  the  public 
interest,  rather  than  magnanimous,  not  to  take  notice 
of  serious  accusations  preferred  against  an  official, 
and  bearing  upon  his  fitness  to  discharge  a  respon- 
sible duty. 

Of  these  prosecutions,  that  which  has  been  most 
commented  upon  was  the  one  brought  by  him  against 
Francis  Collins,  editor  of  the  l^rccman  newspaper, 
instituted  in  1828.  Collins,  a  bitter  journalistic 
opponent,  had  imputed  to  him  as  Attorney-General 
falsehood,  malignity,  and  what  was  practically  neglect 
of  duty.  He  was  found  "guilty,1'  and  sentenced  to  a 
fine  of  £50  and  twelve  months'  imprisonment. 

Mr.  Bradshaw  '  says  as  to  this  :— 

Collins  was  largely  to  blame,  for  he  mistook  Robinson's 
forbearance  for  timidity,  and  was  not  satisfied  with  a  former 
narrow  escape. 

And  Kingsford  in  his  History  takes  the  same  view.2 

The  offence  was,  in  short,  deliberate,  and  forbear- 
ance had  been  previously  exercised  in  vain. 

I  find  from  my  father's  papers  that  during  1824 
the  question  of  whether  he  would  like  employment 
out  of  Canada  was  raised  in  the  following  letter  from 
Sir  Wihnot  Horton,  Under-Secretary  for  State  for 
the  Colonies,  and  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland  seems  later 


1  "  Self-Government  in  Canada."  Ai\,  hy  F.  IJnuMiaw  (1903). 

2  "History  of  Canada,"  by  William  Kingsford  (1898). 


196    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

on  to  have  more  than  once  suggested  that  he  should 
move  to  England ;  but  I  find  no  replies  to  these  sug- 
gestions, and  even  had  it  been  practicable  to  secure 
for  him  any  suitable  post,  which  he  could  have 
ventured  to  accept,  I  doubt  if  the  idea  of  leaving 
Canada  would  ever  have  been  agreeable  to  him. 

From  Sir  Wilmot  Horton. 

13th  July  1824. 

I  believe  that  I  mentioned  to  you  the  possibility  of  inde- 
pendent Members  of  Council  being  appointed  at  the  Cape, 
Mauritius,  and  Ceylon — the  maximum  £3000,  the  minimum 
^2500.  Would  you  like  such  a  situation,  and  are  you  anxious 
to  come  to  England  (independent  of  Parliamentary  views)  to 
prosecute  the  law,  provided  you  could  obtain  a  situation  of 
£500  or  £600  per  annum  ?  Let  me  hear  from  you  on  these 
points. 

In  1825  it  was  proposed  that  he  should  go  upon 
the  Bench  as  Chief-Justice  of  Upper  Canada,  to 
which  he  thus  refers  : — 

In  October  1825  Chief- Justice  Powell  having  applied  to 
retire,  the  situation  of  Chief-Justice  was  offered  to  me  by  the 
Secretary  of  State,  but  I  declined,  because  I  was  young,  and 
had  no  objection  to  work  in  my  profession,  in  which  I  had  a 
large  and  increasing  practice. 

I  had  many  young  children  to  be  brought  up  and  educated, 
and  the  emoluments  were  not  such  that  I  could  venture  to 
accept  them,  and  give  up  my  office  of  Attorney-General  and 
my  growing  practice  at  the  Bar. 

Mr.  Campbell  was  made  Chief-Justice,  and  having  repre- 
sented to  the  Government  the  insufficiency  of  the  salaries  of  the 
Chief- Justice  and  the  other  Judges  for  the  proper  support  of 
the  Crown  Offices,  these  were  raised.1 

1  As  to  changes  made  in  the  salaries  of  the  Bench,  see  chap.  ix.  and 
Appendix  A. 


MI       VIEW  OF  LEGISLATIVE  DUTY       197 

His  health  failing,  Mr.  Campbell  de-sired  to  retire  earlier 
than  he  subsequently  actually  did,  when  it  was  again  propoM-d 
to  me  to  accept  the  office,  which  I  again  declined. 

Not  long  after  this,  however,  my  father  went 
upon  the  Bench,  as  explained  in  the  next  chapter, 
and  upon  his  ceasing  to  be  member  for  York,  a 
number  of  his  constituents  united  in  procuring 
from  England  a  valuable  piece  of  plate,  which  they 
presented  to  him  in  the  following  year  (8th  July 
1830),  and  which  bore  the  following  inscription  :— 

Presented  hv  a  number  of  the  electors  of  the  town  of  York 
to  the  Honourable  John  Reverley  Robinson,  their  highly  valued 
representative  in  the  Provincial  Legislature  of  Upper  Canada, 
as  a  mark  of  their  ad  mi  rat  ion  of  the  talent,  zeal,  and  integrity 
with  which,  during  a  period  of  nine  years,  he  has  defended  in  a 
popular  assembly  the  genuine  principles  of  the  British  Con- 
stitution, and  upheld  the  Government  of  his  country. 

The  Law  Journal1  thus  alludes  to  his  Parlia- 
mentary life,  and  describes,  I  think  accurately,  the 
views  he  held  as  to  his  obligations  to  his  constituents 
as  their  elected  representative  :— 

Sir  John  Robinson  held  the  doctrine  that  Parliamentary 
representation  was  essentially  different  from  delegation ;  that 
as  a  representative  he  was  neither  elected  to  legislate  for  a 
particular  class  nor  to  advocate  exclusive  interests,  nor  was  he 
a  mere  agent  with  defined  powers,  and  entrusted  as  it  were 
with  proxies  of  the  votes  of  his  constituents,  to  give  effect  to 
limited  instructions.  He  claimed  the  right  of  individual  judg- 
ment, and  that  he  was  entrusted  with  discretionary  powers  to 
be  exercised  as  conscience  and  circumstances  suggested.  In  an 
address  to  his  constituents  (on  the  occasion  of  his  last  election 
for  York  in  1828)  he  thus  expressed  himself: — 

1  Law  Journal,  March  1803. 


198     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

"  You  will  do  me  the  justice  to  remember  that  I  have 
always  plainly  told  you  that  there  was  no  object  I  could 
propose  to  myself  in  my  political  career  for  which  I  would 
exchange  the  satisfaction  I  desire  to  enjoy  at  its  close,  in  the 
reflection  that  I  have  ever  moved  in  that  path  which  my  judg- 
ment pointed  out  to  be  the  right  one.  Whenever  it  shall 
appear  that  this  conduct  disqualifies  me  for  running  the  race  of 
popularity,  I  shall  cheerfully  submit  to  the  consequences.''' 

The  same  journal  thus  refers  to  him  as  a  leader  of 
the  Conservative  party  : — 

As  a  Parliamentary  leader  Sir  John  has  scarcely  ever  been 
equalled  in  this  colony.  Amid  the  turmoil  and  excitement 
consequent  upon  constitutional  changes,  he  not  only  kept  his 
obligations  to  his  friends,  but,  without  pandering  to  their 
passions,  gained  the  honourable  estimation  of  even  his  bitterest 
opponents.  The  secret  of  his  success  was  his  sterling  honesty 
of  purpose  and  his  unbending  integrity  in  its  performance. 

As  a  speaker  Sir  John  Robinson  had  few  equals.  He  was  a 
good  debater,  forcible  in  expression,  and  convincing  in  argu- 
ment. His  ability  in  responding  to  an  opponent  was  un- 
matched. Never  taken  by  surprise,  he  has  been  known,  after 
a  long  and  stormy  debate,  conducted  against  him  by  no 
mean  antagonist,  to  rise  without  the  slightest  preparation, 
and  grapple  with  every  proposition,  leaving  no  argument 
unanswered,  or  misstatement  uncontradicted. 

He  had  great  command  of  language.  His  speaking  per- 
haps did  not  often  rise  to  eloquence  in  the  general  acceptation 
of  the  term.  He  seldom  attempted  to  electrify,  or  appeal  to 
the  feelings  and  passions  of  his  audience;  he  looked  upon 
eloquence  and  wit  as  weapons  of  a  delicate  nature,  the  use  of 
which  was  blunted  and  impaired  by  frequent  employment,  but 
on  the  few  occasions  when  he  appealed  to  the  loyalty  of  his 
followers,  or  repelled,  in  a  burst  of  virtuous  indignation,  some 
ill-intentioned  personal  attack,  he  seldom  failed  to  rally  his 
friends  into  enthusiasm,  and  cover  his  opponents  with  shame 
and  confusion. 


CHAPTER    VIII 

THE  BENCH   AND   IN  THE  LEGISLATIVE  COUNCIL 
(THE   CANADIAN    REBELLION) 

1829-38 

Is  Chief-Justice  Campbell  on  the  l&enrh  .-at  on  Executive 

Council — State  Of  CuiM*.  1!U.~>  to  U{;>!{  Agitation  tor  Responsible 
(iovernment — Outbreak  of  (  'anadian  Rebellion  -  Attack  upon  Toronto 
— Trial  of  prisoner*  -  I  >»->t  ruction  of  the  Caroline  - --  ( )utra£i«s  on 
Canadian  frontier — Act  against  foreign  I  'I  rial  of  aliens 

for  treason — Letter  a>  to  con^ultinij  heads  of  departments  -Offered 
knighthood  :  reasons  for  declining  it  Lettei>  from  Sir  F.  Head,  Sir 
A.  Mac  Nab,  Sir  (J.  Colborne,  and  Sir  (J.  Arthur — Their  services  to 
Canada,  &c. 

IN  1829  ill-health  compelled  Chief-Justice  Campbell 
to  retire,1  and  the  vacancy  of  Chief-Justice  of  Upper 
Canada  was  for  the  third  time  offered  to  my  father, 
who  accepted  it,  his  commission  being  dated  13th 
July  1829.  He  gives  the  following  reasons  for  now 
deciding  to  go  upon  the  Bench  :— 

On  this  last  occasion  I  had  some  scruple  about  standing 
longer  in  the  way  of  the  promotion,  which  is  naturally  looked 
for  among  members  of  the  Bar,  and  I  was  apprehensive  that, 
by  the  appointment  of  some  person  from  England  not  older 
than  myself,  I  might  be  shut  out  from  the  judicial  office  when 
circumstances  might  lead  me  to  desire  it. 

From  this  time,  throughout  his  life,  his  duties 
were  mainly  judicial,  although  under  the  colonial 
system  of  the  day  he  continued  for  a  few  years  to 
take  a  part  in  political  life  as  President  of  the  Execu- 
tive and  Speaker  of  the  Legislative  Council. 

1  After  his  retirement  ho  was  knighted  (the  first  Canadian  judge  to  be 
so),  and  became  Sir  William  Campbell. 


200    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

These  posts  were  filled  ex  officio  by  the  Chief- 
Justice,  until  the  union  of  the  Canadas  in  1841,  when 
the  occupants  of  the  Bench  ceased  to  hold  any 
political  office. 

My  father,  however,  resigned  the  Presidency  of 
the  Executive  Council  about  1832,  it  having  been 
intimated  to  him  that,  as  a  matter  of  Government 
policy,  it  would  be  agreeable  were  he  himself  to  take 
that  step — a  suggestion  he  complied  with  at  once;  and 
he  never  actually  sat  in  the  Legislative  Council  after 
1838,  from  which  date  until  1840  he  was  in  England. 

As  a  consequence,  he  was  not  present  in  the 
Legislative  Council  in  1839  during  the  debates  upon 
the  Union  Bill  of  that  year,  though  he  published  in 
England  his  views  with  respect  to  the  Bill,  which  are 
given  fully  in  succeeding  chapters. 

I  have  some  reason  to  think  that  his  active 
opposition  to  this  Bill,  which  was  afterwards  with- 
drawn, and  differed  in  many  points  from  that  passed 
in  1840,  added  to  the  fact  that  he  had  been  in  earlier 
years  Conservative  leader  in  the  House  of  Assembly, 
have  created  among  many  an  impression  that  he  took 
a  greater  personal  share  in  politics  when  on  the  Bench 
and  also  in  the  Legislative  Council,  i.e.  between  1829 
and  1840,  than  in  reality  he  did. 

The  journals  of  the  Council  during  this  period 
show  that  he  was  regular  in  his  attendance  as  its 
Speaker;  but  there  is  neither  in  them  nor  in  the 
references  made  to  him  in  those  newspapers  of  the 
time  which  I  have  consulted,  anything  to  indicate 
that,  after  he  had  ceased  to  sit  in  the  House  of 
Assembly  and  Executive  Council,  he  ever,  with  the 
exception  I  have  alluded  to  in  1839,  concerned  him- 
self very  specially  with  political  matters. 


VIM         IN   LEGISLATIVE   COUNCIL 

It  may  be  added  also  that  the  duties  of  "  Speaker," 
or  presiding  officer,  are  incompatible  with  taking  any 
active  part  in  debate. 

He  must,  of  course,  as  official  head  of  the  Council, 
have  given  his  advice,  when  asked  for,  to  the  repre- 
sentative of  the  Crown  ;  and  from  his  long  experience 
of  Canada  he  was  no  doubt  often  consulted  :  but  in  a 
letter,  from  which  I  quote  further  on  in  this  chapter, 
to  Sir  George  Arthur,  it  is  to  be  gathered  that  his 
wish  was  to  be  referred  to  only  so  far  as  was  clearly 
called  for  in  the  position  which  he  held. 

To  his  work  as  a  legislator,  in  the  general 
rather  than  political  sense,  the  Lmc  Journal1  thus 
alludes : — 

The  fruits  of  Sir  John  Robinson's  life  as  a  legislator  are  to 
be  found  in  the  pages  of  our  statutes.  Several  of  our  most 
important  Acts  were  framed  by  his  own  hand.  They  bear 
evidence  to  his  great  legislative  ability  and  to  his  clear  percep- 
tion of  an  existing  evil  or  defect,  and  the  remedy  most  fitted 

remove  it.  They  show  his  strong  attachment  to  monarchical 
institutions,  his  intention  to  preserve  the  relations  of  the 
province  with  the  Empire,  and  they  are  further  characterised 
by  that  close  approximation  to  those  British  institutions  which 
have  so  long  been  our  pride  and  our  boast. 

The  period  during  which  he  was  in  the  Legislative 
Council  was  one  of  much  political  unrest  in  Canada. 
The  struggle  for  "  Responsible  Government,"  and 
afterwards  the  Canadian  Rebellion,  disturbed  the 
country  during  these  years,  and  were  the  most  im- 
portant events  to  which  I  need  refer ;  but  it  may 
be  said  in  addition  that  throughout  the  whole  of 
his  association  with  politics,  from  1821  (when, 
shortly  after  the  war,  he  entered  the  Lower  House), 

1  Law  Journal  of  r\>per  Canada,  March  18(>;3. 


202    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Canada  was  at  periods  in  a  more  or  less  agitated  and 
unsettled  condition. 

To  justly  estimate  the  policy  of  the  Conservative 
party  to  which  he  belonged,  and  its  attitude  towards 
the  party  of  Reform,  during  the  years  when  Canada 
may  be  said  to  have  been  passing  from  youth  to 
manhood,  it  is  necessary  to  understand  something 
of  the  then  circumstances  of  the  country ;  but  while 
I  must,  for  this  reason,  briefly  allude  to  them,  I  will 
confine  myself,  as  I  have  occasionally  done  before, 
to  what  has  been  written  by  those  who,  in  their 
general  views,  are  certainly  not  partisans  of  the 
Conservative  policy  of  those  days. 

Mr.  MacMullen  writes  : l — 

The  War  (of  1812-15)  which,  in  one  way  or  another,  drew 
almost  the  entire  male  population  of  Upper  Canada  into  its 
vortex,  had  of  itself  completely  unsettled  the  habits  of  the 
people  by  its  novelty  and  excitement;  and  the  absence  of 
these  mental  stimulants,  aside  from  the  greater  scarcity  of 
money,  produced  a  very  general  irritation.  .  .  .  This  naturally 
found  vent  against  whatever  were  deemed  abuses,  and  formed 
the  microscopic  medium  through  which  the  injuries  they 
entailed,  whether  real  or  fanciful,  were  regarded. 

Then  Mr.  Robert  Gourlay  came  to  the  country, 
"  distinguished  for  a  litigious  and  dissatisfied,  though 
benevolent  disposition  .  .  .  energetic,  restless,  ambi- 
tious .  .  .  indefatigable  in  hunting  up  abuses."' 

Then  William  Lyon  Mackenzie,  a  future  leader 
in  the  Rebellion,  commenced  a  course  of  violent 
attacks  upon  the  Government,  declaring  that  he 

1  MacMullen's  "  History  of  Canada,"  p.  339. 

2  Ibid.,  p.  341.     Mr.  Gourlay  subsequently  became  insane,  and  was 
imprisoned   in    England   for  striking   Lord   Brougham,  a   distinguished 
advocate  of  Reform,  in  the  lobby  of  the  House  of  Commons. 


vni       STATE    OF   CANADA,  1815-1840        203 

would  rather  work  for  his  bread  than  k-  submit  to  the 
official  fungi  of  the  country,  more  numerous  and 
pestilential  than  the  marshes  and  quagmires  that 
encircle  Toronto."1 

To  this  was  added  the  struggle  for  Responsible 
Government,  and  the  whole  culminated  in  the 
Rebellion,  which,  while  like  a  storm  it  eventually 
cleared  the  air,  was  only  put  down  after  some 
bloodshed,  and,  together  with  the  contests  over  the 
Union  Bill,  left  the  country  politically  unsettled  for 
a  time. 

It  was  in  the  year  in  which  my  father  went  upon 
the  Bench  (1829)  that  the  question  of  "Responsible 
(Government"  is  said  to  have  "first  loomed  distinctly 
on  the  public  view  as  the  great  panacea  for  Canada's 
many  evils  ;H|  and  the  agitation  for  the  principle  it 
involved,  which  was  that  the  Executive  should  be 
responsible  to  the  representatives  of  the  people  and 
not  merely  to  the  Crown,  was  carried  on  after  he  had 
ceased  to  be  a  member  of  the  House  of  Assembly. 

He  is  said  by  some  to  have  been  opposed,  when  in 
the  Legislative  Council,  to  the  principle  of  "  Respon- 
sible Government "  in  the  Colonies.  It  would  be 
more  correct,  I  believe,  to  say  that  he  did  not 
consider  that  in  the  interests  of  the  Crown  and 
British  connection  it  could  be  prudently  introduced 
into  Canada  at  the  time  its  concession  was  being  so 
vehemently  demanded,  and  under  the  then  condition 
of  the  country. 

In  this  he  may  have  been  wrong,  or  he  may  have 
been  right,  but  the  events  of  the  Rebellion  proved 
that  there  were  many  in  that  political  party  which 

1  MacMullen's  "  History  of  Canada,"  p.  360.  -  Ibid.,  p.  370. 


204    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

was  demanding  a  larger  measure  of  popular  control, 
who  under  the  name  of  "  Reform "  were  aiming  at 
something  essentially  different;  they  desired  a  Re- 
publican form  of  Government,  and  could  not  be 
controlled  by  the  more  moderate  of  that  party. 

It  is  true  that  many  of  the  latter  had  no  sympathy 
with  these  extremists,  who  eventually  lost  weight,  but 
while  my  father  was  in  Parliamentary  life  there  was 
ground  to  view  with  great  apprehension  the  intro- 
duction of  any  measure,  such  as  Responsible  Govern- 
ment, which  would  tend  to  increase  their  number, 
and  therefore  power,  in  the  Legislature. 

In  the  Lower  Province,  Mr.  Papineau,  Speaker 
of  the  House  of  Assembly,  who  had  been  twice 
elected  to  that  office,  had,  in  1835,  spoken  thus  in 
the  House:1 — 

The  time  has  gone  by  when  Europe  could  give  Monarchies 
to  America;  on  the  contrary,  an  epoch  is  now  approaching 
when  America  will  give  Republics  to  Europe. 

Other  members  had  used  somewhat  similar  lan- 
guage ;  and  Mr.  Kingsford  relates 2  how,  in  March 
1836,  Mr.  Barnabas  Bidwell,  Speaker  of  the  House 
of  Assembly  of  Upper  Canada,  laid  on  the  table  of 
the  House  a  letter  from  Mr.  Papineau,  Speaker  of 
the  House  of  Assembly  of  Lower  Canada,  forward- 
ing certain  Resolutions  of  that  body,  and  containing 
these  words  :— 

The  state  of  society  all  over  Continental  America  requires 
that  the  forms  of  its  Government  ^should  approximate  nearer 
to  that  selected,  under  propitious  circumstances,  and  after 


1  MacMullen's  ' '  History  of  Canada/'  p.  396.     Mr.  Papineau  became  a 
leading  instigator  of  the  Rebellion  in  1837. 

2  "History  of  Canada,"  by  William  Kingsford  (1898),  V9l.  x.  p.  356. 


> 


vin       RESPONSIBLE   GOVERNMENT       205 

mature  consideration,  by  the  wise  statesmen  of  the  neighbour- 
ing Union. 

Mr.  MacMullen  writes1  that  up  to  the  year  1826 
fully  one-third  of  the  Reform  party  consisted  of 
emigrants  from  the  United  States,  who  "  considered 
that  a  Monarchical  form  of  Government  must  be 
necessarily  arbitrary ;  regarded  Republican  institu- 
tions as  the  only  liberal  ones,  and  desired  to  see  them 
established  in  Canada." 

And  Mr.  F.  Bradshaw 2  also  writes  :— 

The  Radical  opposition  (i.e.  the  extreme  section  of  the 
Reform  party),  from  the  time  of  Willcocks :i  to  that  of  Kidwell, 
consisted  of  United  Irishmen  and  Americans,  with  a  preference 
for  Republican  institutions.  .  .  .  Many  of  the  reformers  in  Par- 
liament (in  Upper  Canada)  held  extreme  views,  among  whom 
was  Dr.  Duncombe,  afterwards  a  rebel  leader. 

Responsible  Government,  which  was  introduced 
into  Canada  in  1841,  after  the  Rebellion  had  been 
crushed,  has,  in  the  years  which  have  since  elapsed, 
been  of  great  advantage  to  the  country ;  but  in  con- 
sidering whether  it  could  have  been  wisely  adopted 
t  an  earlier  period  than  it  was,  it  must  not  be 
forgotten  that  after  the  Rebellion  the  political  situa- 
tion had  changed,  the  plans  of  the  rebel  leaders  and 
sympathisers  been  defeated,  as  well  as  their  influence 
lessened,  and  that  the  dangerous  agitations  along  the 
frontier  adjoining  the  American  Republic  had  prac- 
tically ceased. 

1  "  History  of  Canada,"  p.  :i7  J. 

1  "Self-Government  in  Canada."  pp.  l-jil,  ^7«>. 

3  See  p.  55,  chap.  iii.  Sheriff  \Villeoeks  was  an  ex-Tinted  Irishman 
who  was  elected  to  the  House  of  Assembly  of  Upper  Canada.  He  joined 
the  enemy  in  the  war,  and  was  killed  at  Fort  Erie  in  1814,  being  then  a 
colonel  in  the  American  army.  Mr.  Bidwell  was  one  of  the  Reform 
leaders  in  1837. 


206    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

If  a  dispassionate  and  full  political  history  of  the 
Conservative  party  in  Canada  between  1815  and  1840 
ever  comes  to  be  written,  it  will  be  found,  I  think, 
that  the  restraining  influence  of  that  party  in  critical 
years  contributed  much,  under  the  circumstances 
which  then  prevailed,  to  the  highest  interests  of 
Canada.  With  regard  to  my  father,  he  was  far  too 
great  an  admirer  of  the  British  constitutional  system 
ever  to  have  wished  to  keep  Canada  for  an  indefinite 
period  without  as  full  a  measure  of  liberty  as  was 
enjoyed  in  England ;  but  he  has  not  dwelt  upon 
this  subject  in  his  papers,  and  I  have  never  heard 
him  speak  of  it,  as  he  scarcely  ever  alluded  to  politics 
at  home. 

In  chapter  ix.  will  be  found  his  view  of  the 
political  system  which  now  practically  prevails  in 
the  self-governing  Colonies,  written  when  the  policy 
of  making  them  responsible  for  their  own  defence, 
introduced  about  1862,  was  under  consideration. 

To  turn  more  especially  to  the  origin  and  occur- 
rences of  the  Rebellion,  much  has  been  written 
about  its  causes  from  various  standpoints,  which  1 
cannot  here  enlarge  upon ;  but  it  may  be  said  that 
they  were  not  identical  in  Upper  and  Lower  (or 
French)  Canada,  the  inhabitants  of  which  two  pro- 
vinces, taken  as  a  body,  differed  from  each  other  in 
many  circumstances — a  difference  which  made  re- 
bellion against  the  Sovereign  more  excusable  in  the 
latter  (which  had  been  under  the  French  Crown  until 
1759)  than  in  the  former. 

With  the  affairs  of  Lower  Canada  my  father  had 
no  connection,  and  with  regard  to  the  rising  in 
Upper  Canada,  his  share  in  the  events  which  fol- 
lowed it  was  confined  to  turning  out,  with  many 


viii  THE   REBELLION  JO? 

others  in  Toronto,  to  repel  an  unsuccessful  attempt 
to  surprise  the  town ;  to  having  to  preside  at  the 
trial  of  certain  prisoners  concerned  in  the  Rebellion  ; 
and  to  deal  with  legal  questions  arising  out  of  the 
disturbed  condition  of  the  country,  and  more  par- 
ticularly out  of  the  invasion  of  Canadian  territory  by 
sympathisers  with  the  Rebellion  from  the  United 
States. 

Some  have  attempted  to  palliate,  if  not  justify, 
the  abortive  rising  in  the  Upper  Province,  which  was 
confined  in  its  extent,  and  of  no  very  general  or  for- 
midable character,  by  ascribing  it  to  the  tyranny  and 
selfishness  of  the  Canadian  officials  of  a  Government 
which  it  was  in  the  interests  of  freedom  to  overthrow ; 
but  grounds  for  treason  and  armed  rebellion,  with 
the  bloodshed  and  loss  of  life  which  they  were  sure 
to  entail,  cannot  be  said  to  have  been  existent  in 
Canada. 

It  has  been  well  pointed  out  that — 

Trial  by  Jury  existed,  the  law  of  Habeas  Corpus  protected 
personal  rights,  and  the  levying  of  internal  taxation  was  vested 
in  the  local  Parliament.1 

Some  grievances  there  may  have  been.  In  cer- 
tain parts  of  the  country  officials  might  possibly  have 
been  inclined  to  be  autocratic  in  manner  or  in  act ; 
and  the  time  had  probably  come  when  the  old 
method  of  governing  the  country  from  the  Colonial 
Office  was  unsuited  to  the  circumstances  of  Canada, 
no  matter  how  able  and  high-minded  those  might 
be  to  whose  duty  it  fell  to  administer  it.  It 
is  probably  true  that  the  real  discontent,  which  was 
naturally  worked  upon  by  agitators,  dissatisfied  either 

1   Mac-Mullen's  "  History  of  Canada/'  p.  408. 


208    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

with  their  position,  or  the  form  of  government,  or 
their  share  in  it,  arose,  as  has  been  said,1  both  in  Upper 
and  Lower  Canada,  "from  economic  as  opposed  to 
political  troubles — in  Upper  Canada  from  the  back- 
ward condition  of  the  country,  which  in  turn  was  due 
to  want  of  capital  and*  population,  and  to  the  exist- 
ence of  a  quantity  of  '  dead  land,'  which  obstructed 
all  improvement." 

It  is  certain  that  the  mass  of  Upper  Canadians 
had  no  sympathy  whatever  with  the  Rebellion ; 
and  that,  for  one  who  aided  it,  numbers  turned  out 
to  put  it  down. 

Mr.  Kingsford  writes  : — 

Except  with  some  of  the  leaders  of  the  Reform  Party, 
there  was  no  sympathy  with  the  political  attitude  assumed  in 
the  Lower  Province.2 

It  is  doubtful  also  if  it  did  not  retard  more  than 
advance  the  more  beneficial  of  those  political  changes 
which  were  afterwards  introduced;  but  as  to  the 
effects  which  would  have  accompanied  its  success 
I  can  say  nothing  which  could  bear  with  as  much 
weight  as  that  which  has  been  already  said  by  one 
of  its  leaders,  Mr.  William  Lyon  Mackenzie  himself 
(who  years  afterwards  died  in  Canada),  in  a  letter 
written  3rd  February,  1849,3  to  Earl  Grey,  Secretary 
of  State  for  the  Colonies,  of  which  the  following  is 
an  extract : — 

A  course  of  careful  observation^  during  the  last  eleven  years 
has  fully  satisfied  me  that  had  the  violent  movement  in  which 
I  and  many  others  were  engaged  on  both  sides  of  the  Niagara 


1  "  Self-Government  in  Canada,"  by  F.  Bradshaw,  p.  277. 

2  Kingsford's  "  History  of  Canada,"  vol.  x.  p.  357. 

3  "  Lite  and  Times  of  William  Lyon  Mackenzie/'  by  C.  Lindsey  (1862), 
p.  291.     "The  Story  of  my  Life,"  by  the  Rev.  Egerton  Ryerson  (1884), 


viii  TORONTO   THREATENED  209 

proved  successful,  that  success  would  have  deoplv  injured  the 
people  of  Canada,  whom  I  then  believed  I  \\;is  serving  at  ^rcat 
risks.  ...  I  have  long  been  sensible  of  the  errors  committed 
during  that  period.  .  .  .  No  punishment  that  power  could 
inHict,  or  nature  sustain,  could  have  equalled  the  regrets  I  have 
felt  on  account  of  much  that  I  did,  said,  wrote,  and  published  ; 
but  the  past  cannot  be  recalled.  .  .  .  There  is  not  a  living 
man  on  the  Continent  who  more  sincerely  desires  that  British 
Government  in  Canada  may  long  continue. 

With  regard  to  the  events  of  the  Rebellion  in 
Upper  Canada,  it  is  enough  to  say  that,  in  December 
1837,  when  the  regular  troops  had  been  entirely 
withdrawn  from  the  Upper  Province  to  suppress  the 
insurrection  in  the  Lower,  an  attempt,  headed  by 
William  Lyon  Mackenzie,  who,  with  others,  had 
fomented  a  rising  near  Toronto,  was  made  to  gain 
possession  of  that  town,  which  was  the  scat  of  Govern- 
ment, and  to  seize  the  Government  buildings. 

No  doubt  several  who  took  part  in  this  had  be- 
come convinced  that  they  were  patriots,  while  others 
joined  from  motives  not  so  creditable. 

When  at  night,  on  the  6th  of  December,  the  alarm 
bells  summoned  the  loyal  inhabitants  of  Toronto  to 
repair  to  the  City  Hall,  where  two  guns  had  been 
placed,  and  some  arms  and  ammunition  stored,  my 
father  turned  out  with  the  rest,  and  Sir  Francis 
Head,1  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Upper  Canada  at  this 
time,  thus  alludes  to  him  l  :  — 


were  of  course  a  motley  group.  I  had  a  short  double- 
barrelled  gun  in  my  belt  and  another  on  niv  shoulder.  The 
Chief-Justice  had  about  thirty  rounds  of  ball  cartridge  in  his 
cartouch,  and  the  rest  of  the  party  were  equally  well  armed. 

1  "The  Emigrant,"  p.  170,  by  Sir  Francis  Head,  who  was  Lieutenant- 
Goveruor  of  Upper  Canada,  January  183G  to  March  1837. 

O 


210    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

I  find  the  memorandum  from  which  I  quote 
below  among  my  father's  papers,  written  upon  the 
day  on  which  this  attempt  was  repulsed : — 

Thursday,  7th  December  1837. 

The  loyal  feeling  of  her  Majesty's  true  subjects  has  been 
nobly  displayed  to-day,  and  the  result  promises  peace  and 
happiness  to  Upper  Canada  for  years  to  come. 

For  some  weeks  past  reports  had  been  brought  to  Toronto 
from  the  settlements  about  Newmarket  and  along  Yonge  Street, 
that  there  were  people  training  by  hundreds  under  certain 
leaders  who  have  been  long  known  as  disaffected  and  seditious, 
but  who  were  not  supposed  to  be  so  desperate  and  daring  as 
to  rise  in  open  rebellion  against  their  Sovereign. 

The  loyal  inhabitants  in  the  neighbourhood  of  these 
armed  meetings  were  much  alarmed,  and  so  many  accounts 
arrived  of  an  intended  attack  upon  Toronto  that  serious 
anxiety  was  felt  by  the  inhabitants  of  the  city  as  well  as  of 
the  country. 

The  Lieutenant-Governor  looked  upon  these  meetings  of 
the  rebels  as  an  effort  to  deter  him  from  sending  away  the 
troops  to  the  assistance  of  our  fellow-subjects  in  Lower 
Canada,  where  thousands  of  French  Canadians  are  in  arms. 
But  on  Sunday  last  such  particular  reports  were  received 
of  an  intended  attack,  and  so  much  alarm  was  felt  in  several 
parts  of  the  country,  that  he  addressed  an  order  to  the  different 
militia  regiments  calling  upon  them  to  hold  themselves  ready 
for  duty  upon  any  emergency  arising  either  here  or  in  Lower 
Canada. 

This  order  was  ready  for  distribution  on  Monday,  and 
the  mayor  and  citizens  of  Toronto,  aided  by  the  zealous 
exertions  of  Colonels  Fitzgibbon  and  Stanton,  had  made  some 
arrangements  for  guarding  the  Bank,  the  City  Hall,  and  such 
points  as  were  likely  to  be  assailed.  About  midnight  on  the 
4th  December,  the  town  bells  rang  an  alarm,  and  the  citizens 
hastily  collected  at  the  City  Hall,  where  arms  and  ammuni- 
tion were  delivered  to  them.  His  Excellency,  Sir  Francis 
Head,  came  down  promptly,  and  placed  himself  among  the 


vin        COLONEL   HOODIE   KILLED        211 

assembled  inhabitants,  armed  like  them  and  ready  to  resist  the 
threatened  attack. 

It  was  uncertain  to  what  extent  the  treason  might  have 
spread,  and  how  many  men  might  have  been  deluded  to  join 
in  the  attempt.  A  call  was  therefore  sent  by  express  upon 
the  militia  of  the  adjoining  districts  to  require  their  aid.  On 
Monday  evening  sonic  hundreds  of  armed  rebels  had  pa 
down  Yonge  Street;  some  were  on  horseback  and  others  on 
foot.  They  were  in  general  armed  with  American  rifles, 
and  many  of  them  with  pikes  and  spears.  It  was  not  doubted 
that  their  intention  was  to  make  some  attack  on  the  town,  and 
several  loval  inhabitants  who  had  seen  them  pass  resolved  to 
make  the  best  of  their  way  into  Toronto,  to  give  notice  of  their 
approach,  and  assist  in  repelling  them. 

Captain  Stewart,  and  Colonel  Moodie  formerly  of  his 
Majesty's  104-th  Regiment,  were  of  this  small  party.  Captain 
Stewart  was  made  prisoner,  and  remained  so  till  relieved  by 
the  advance  of  the  militia  under  Sir  Francis  Head. 

Colonel  Moodie  endeavoured  to  make  good  his  way,  but 
was  shot  down  hy  a  discharge  from  several  rifles  upon  the 
word  of  command  given  by  one  of  the  leaders;  and  thus  was 
this  gallant  veteran,  who  had  fought  for  his  country  in  many 
battles,1  shot  on  the  Queen's  highway.  Two  or  three  of  the 
party  succeeded  in  getting  in,  having  been  fired  upon,  but 
fortunately  not  hit. 

When  the  rebels  came  to  within  a  mile  or  two  of  the  town 
they  met  several  of  those  who  hail  volunteered  their  services 
to  ride  up  Yonge  Street,  and  gain  intelligence  of  their  move- 
ments. Some  of  these  they  took  prisoners,  and  among  them 
John  Powell,  Esq.,  who,  upon  attempting  to  escape  was  shot 
at,  but  without  effect.  He  succeeded  in  getting  into  the  town, 
and  the  accounts  received  from  him  and  from  other  quarters  led 
to  the  expectation  of  an  immediate  attack,  which  every  possible 
effort  was  made  to  meet. 

When  daylight  came,  the  rebels  were  seen,  in  a  large  body, 


1  Colonel  Moodie  had  served  in  the  Peninsular  War'  and  in  that  of 
1812-15. 


212    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

near  the  first  toll-gate  on  Yonge  Street,  and  it  was  reported 
that  they  were  hourly  receiving  large  accessions  to  their  force. 

In  the  meantime  hundreds  of  loyal  persons  flocked  to  the 
garrison  and  to  the  City  Hall  to  receive  arms  and  ammunition, 
and  to  join  in  the  defence  of  the  place.  The  very  best  spirit 
was  shown. 

During  the  next  day  the  brave  and  loyal  militia  of  the 
country  came  in  numbers  to  offer  their  services. 

My  father's  account  ends  here,  but  the  defeat 
of  the  insurgents,  on  the  day  on  which  it  was  written 
(Thursday,  December  7,  1837),  at  Montgomery's 
Tavern  on  Yonge  Street,  by  the  force  under  Sir 
F.  Head,  with  whom  were  Sir  Allan  (then  Colonel) 
MacNab,  Colonel  Fitzgibbon  and  others,  is  a  well- 
known  incident  in  the  history  of  Upper  Canada. 

During  the  alarm  in  Toronto,  my  mother  with 
her  younger  children,  of  whom  I  was  one,  was  placed 
with  other  ladies  and  children  upon  a  steamer  in 
the  bay.1 

My  father  bears  decided  testimony  to  the  value 
of  the  service  rendered  by  Colonel  Fitzgibbon  upon 
this  occasion ;  and  in  writing  from  Brighton,  on  the 
14th  August  1839,  to  Bishop  Strachan  says,  in  a  letter 
of  which  a  copy  was  afterwards  forwarded  to  the 
Colonial  Office : — 

With  regard  to  his  (Colonel  FitzgibbonY)  services  in  Decem- 
ber 1837,  I  have  no  doubt  (and  I  should  be  happy  to  state  this 
on  every  occasion  when  it  could  be  useful  to  him)  that  his 
earnest  conviction  before  the  outbreak  that  violence  would  be 
attempted,  and  the  measures  of  precaution  which  he  spon- 
taneously took  in  consequence  of  that  impression,  were  the 
means  of  saving  the  Government  and  the  loyal  inhabitants  of 
Toronto  from  being,  for  a  time  at  least,  at  the  mercy  of  the 
rebels;  and  I  believe  that  the  most  disastrous  consequences 

1  See  Appendix  A.,  VII. 


vin  TRIAL   OF    PRISONERS  213 

would  have  followed  the  surprise  which  Colonel  Fitzgibbon's 
vigilmce  prevented.  His  conduct,  also,  when  the  crisis  did 
OCCIT,  was  most  meritorious.1 

It  fell  to  my  father's  lot,  in  the  course  of  his 
duty  as  Chief- Justice,  to  try  at  Toronto  (on  the  8th 
March  1838)  two  prisoners  upon  the  charge  of 
treason  ;  and,  with  reference  to  the  extreme  penalty 
of  the  law  having  been  carried  out  in  the  case  of 
these-  men  who  had  taken  a  leading  part  in  the 
rebellion,  the  Law  Journal  of  Upper  Canada  says  : 2 — 

It  has  been  asserted  that  the  Government  were  in  receipt 
of  a  despatch  from  England  forbidding  capital  punishment 
f>r  political  olK-mvs  without  the  approval  and  sanction  of 
tie  Imperial  authorities,  but,  like  many  other  charges  made 
inder  similar  circumstances,  we  believe  this  to  be  quite  in- 
/apaMe  of  proof,  and  altogether  contrary  to  fact,  and  that, 
in  truth,  no  such  despatch  was  known  to,  or  received  by,  the 
Government, 

So  clear  is  the  memory  of  the  Chief-Justice  from  the  im- 
putation of  having  advised  the  Lieutenant-Governor  to  carry 
out  the  extreme  penalty  of  the  law,  that  he  had  ceased  for 
some  time  previously  to  be  a  member  of  the  Executive  Council. 

In  passing  sentence  on  the  prisoners  he  very  properly  dwelt 
upon  the  enormity  of  their  crime,  but  his  remarks  were  im- 
bued with  compassionate  and  sorrowful  feeling,  and  a  gentle- 
man in  Court  at  the  time  has  remarked  that  after  the 
prisoners  had  pleaded  "Guilty1"  and  the  sentence  of  death 
was  passed  upon  them,  of  the  three  individuals  concerned,  the 
Chief- Justice  was  most  certainly  the  most  painfully  affected. 

It  is  only  because  the  assertions  alluded  to  by  the 
Law  Journal  have  been  made,  that  I  am  not  silent 
on  this  subject  altogether. 

1  Colonel  Fitzgibbon  had  also  performed  distinguished  services  in  the 
War  of  181 -J  !.->. 

"  Law  Journal  of  March  1863. 


214    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

The  prisoners  pleaded  "  Guilty,"  so  that  no  evi- 
dence was  taken  at  their  trial,  and  in  reporting  to  the 
Lieutenant  -  Governor  their  convictions,  my  father 
refers  him,  for  the  circumstances  of  their  cases,  to  the 
Crown  officer,  and  the  commissioners  who  had  in- 
vestigated the  charges. 

He  had  certainly  resigned  his  seat  on  the  Execu- 
tive Council  some  years  before ;  and  if  consulted  as 
to  the  sentence,  as  he  very  possibly  was,  it  may  be 
assumed  to  have  been  in  his  capacity  of  Chief- Justice, 
and  solely  as  to  the  legal  aspects  of  the  case.  There 
were  few,  I  am  convinced,  who  regretted  more  than, 
he  did  that  these  misguided  men  had  placed  them- 
selves in  the  position  they  had. 

In  his  charge  to  the  Grand  Jury  he  pointed  out. 
that  though  "  our  laws  inculcate  no  doctrine  sox 
slavish  as  the  necessity  of  absolute  submission  to 
every  degree  of  tyranny  that  a  Government  can  ex- 
ercise," no  tyranny  existed  in  Canada  which  could 
be  held  to  justify  armed  rebellion  against  the 
Queen. 

At  this  point,  in  order  to  make  more  clear  certain 
references  by  my  father  to  the  further  events  of  the 
Rebellion — given  by  me  in  later  chapters — I  may  say 
that  throughout  December  1837  and  during  1838, 
the  country  was  in  a  very  disturbed  condition,  insur- 
rection and  bloodshed  occurring  in  more  than  one 
quarter. 

William  Lyon  Mackenzie  escaped  to  Buffalo  in 
the  United  States ;  and  from  thence  the  "  Patriots," 
as  they  were  termed,  took  possession,  in  December 
1837,  of  Navy  Island  (belonging  to  Canada)  about 
two  miles  above  the  Falls  of  Niagara,  established  a 


viii     BURNING   OF   THE    CAROLINE 

provisional  government  there,  and  threatened  an  in- 
vasion of  the  main  shore  of  Canada. 

On  13th  December  Mackenzie  issued  a  pro- 
clamation, in  which  occur  these  words : — 

Compare  the  great  and  flourishing  United  States  with  our 
divided  and  distracted  land;  and  think  what  we  also  might 
h.ivr  hern  as  brave  independent  lords  of  the  soil.  Leave  then 
Sir  1-Yancis  Head's  defence  to  the  miserable  serfs  dependent  on 
hi>  bounty. 

Sir  Allan  (then  Colonel)  MacNab  was  sent  with 
a  body  of  militia  to  Chippewu,  opposite  Navy  Island, 
to  watch  and  oppose  the  rebels. 

Under  his  orders,  on  29th  December  1837,  Cap- 
tain A.  Drew,  a  commander  in  the  Royal  Navy  who 
had  settled  in  Canada,  with  a  party  of  volunteers, 
very  gallantly  surprised  and  cut  out  from  under  Fort 
Schlosser,  on  the  American  side  of  the  river  Niagara, 
the  steamer  Ca?-o/hu\  which  was  being  used  by  the 
Patriots  to  convey  guns,  men,  and  supplies  to  Navy 
Island,  and  sent  her,  in  flames,  to  drift  toward  the 
Falls.  These  volunteers  consisted  of  Mr.  Harris, 
R.N.,  Lieutenant  McCormick,  R.N.,  and  men  accus- 
tomed to  boats.  The  boats  were  five  in  number, 
according  to  Captain  Drew's  official  report,  contain- 
ing about  nine  men  each  (forty-five  in  all).  During 
the  crossing  they  were,  at  one  time,  not  more  than 
half  a  mile  above  the  Falls. 

This  was  an  extremely  hazardous  enterprise,  if 
only  on  account  of  the  certainty  there  was  that  the 
boats  conveying  the  party,  if  the  oars  or  gear  were 
damaged  by  accident,  or  by  shot,  would  be  swept  by 
the  strong  current  and  the  rapids  over  the  Falls. 
But  the  service  was  carried  out  with  skill  and  resolu- 


216    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

tion,  the  surprise  was  complete,  and  the  object  was 
in  consequence  attained  with  a  very  small  loss  of  life 
in  boarding  the  vessel. 

The  burning  of  the  Caroline  caused  great  ex- 
citement and  indignation  in  the  United  States,  and 
threatened  to  lead  to  a  war,  for  though  the  American 
Government  had  in  no  way  officially  recognised  the 
"  Patriots,"  the  vessel  was  an  American  one,  was  on 
the  American  side  of  the  river  Niagara,  and  flying 
the  American  flag.1 

The  destruction  of  this  steamer  was  declared  by 
Lord  Palmerston  in  the  House  of  Commons  to  have 
been,  under  the  circumstances,  a  proceeding  perfectly 
justifiable,  but  the  matter  was  the  subject  of  corres- 
pondence for  nearly  five  years  between  the  British  and 
American  Governments,  and  was  only  finally  closed 
in  1842,  when  an  expression  of  regret  was  tendered 
by  the  former  that  some  explanation  of,  and  apology 
for,  the  act  had  not  been  offered  at  the  time  it 
occurred. 

On  the  14th  January  1838  the  "Patriots"  were 
compelled  to  evacuate  Navy  Island  by  the  fire  of 
guns  brought  to  bear  upon  them  from  the  Canadian 
side  of  the  river. 

During  1838  secret  Patriot  associations,  called 
"  Hunters'  Lodges,"  were  organised  in  every  direction 
along  the  American  frontier,  their  object  being  to 
revolutionise,  and,  as  it  was  termed,  "liberate"  Canada, 
and  the  feeling  between  Great  Britain  and  the  United 

1  This  flag  was  subsequently  presented  by  Captain  (afterwards  Admiral) 
Drew  to  the  Royal  United  Service  Institution  in  London,  by  which  body 
it  has  since  been  transferred  to  the  Public  Library,  Toronto,  Canada. 
The  Assembly  of  Upper  Canada  passed  a  vote  of  thanks  to  Sir  Allan  Mac- 
Nab  and  Captain  Drew,  and  presented  each  of  them  with  a  sword  for  their 
conduct  in  the  Rebellion. 


vin  BORDER   OUTRAGES  217 

States  became  very  strained,  owing  to  the  destruction 
of  the  Caroline  and  disputes  with  respect  to  the 
"  Maine  boundary." 

Armed  bodies  of  filibusters  under  Sutherland, 
Dodge,  Theller,  and  others  invaded  Canada  along 
the  Detroit  frontier. 

The  Canadian  islands  of  Bois  Blanc  and  Point 
Pelt*  were  occupied,  and  advances  upon  Windsor, 
Amherstburg,  and  Sandwich  took  place. 

A  band  under  a  man  named  Johnson  seized  and 
burnt  the  steamer  Sir  Robert  Peel  on  the  St.  Law- 
rence, and  committed  depredations  at  Amherst  Island. 

A  descent,  under  a  Polish  adventurer  named  Von 
Schultz,  was  made  upon  Prescot  on  the  St.  Lawrence, 
and  a  raid  under  Morreau,  as  its  leader,  took  place 
across  the  Niagara  frontier. 

Many  outrages  were  committed  along  the  borders 
of  Canada  and  the  United  States  ;  the  families  and 
property  of  loyal  Canadians  and  other  British  subjects 
along  the  extended  frontier  line  were  continually 
exposed  to  acts  of  violence  and  intimidation,  and 
a  general  sense  of  insecurity  and  danger  prevailed 
throughout  the  country. 

On  every  occasion,  however,  the  incursions  of  the 
so-called  "  Patriots "  ended  in  repulse — though  in 
most  cases  only  after  some  bloodshed — and  by  the 
close  of  1838  the  Rebellion  had  been  entirely  put 
down,  and  the  gaols  in  Canada  were  full  of  prisoners. 

My  father's  two  eldest  sons,  Lukin  and  John, 
served  in  its  suppression,  Lukin  with  the  militia 
under  Sir  Allan  MacNab  opposite  Navy  Island,  and 
John1  at  the  defeat  of  the  rebels  near  Toronto. 

1  John  Beverley  Robinson,  afterwards  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Ontario, 
1880-7. 


218    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

A.D.C.  to  Sir  Francis  Head,  for  whom  he  afterwards 
carried  despatches  to  Washington. 

Measures  were  adopted  in  Canada  upon  the  out- 
break of  the  Rebellion,  and  questions  arose  in  con- 
nection with  these  measures — more  especially  as  to 
"  aliens  "  (i.e.  Americans  and  other  foreigners)  made 
prisoners  in  the  Rebellion — which  gave  rise  to  some 
debates  in  Parliament  in  England,  and  to  protracted 
correspondence  with  the  Home  Government. 

The  Legislature  in  Upper  Canada  considered  that 
the  most  effective  way  to  meet  the  special  dangers 
which  had  to  be  faced  at  this  time — viz.,  the  union  of 
numbers  of  American  citizens  and  adventurers  from 
the  United  States  with  disaffected  British  subjects  in 
an  attempt  to  revolutionise  the  country,  and  the 
chance  that  the  excited  state  of  feeling  upon  both 
sides  of  the  border  might  be  stirred  up  until  it 
brought  about  a  war — was  to  pass  a  special  Act, 
which  was  assented  to  by  the  Lieutenant-Governor 
on  the  12th  January  1838. 

This  was  entitled  "An  Act  to  protect  the  in- 
habitants of  this  province  against  lawless  aggression 
from  subjects  of  foreign  countries  at  peace  with  her 
Majesty." 

By  its  provisions,  foreigners  invading  the  country 
without  the  authority  of  their  Government,  and  all 
British  subjects  joining  with  or  aiding  them,  were 
made  liable  to  trial  before  special  military  tribunals 
(courts-martial)  constituted  by  the  express  authority 
of  the  Legislature,  and  to  be  sentenced,  upon  con- 
viction, to  death,  or  such  other  punishment  as  the 
court  might  award. 

The  Act  left,  however,  to  the  Executive  Govern- 


vin        FOREIGN   AGGRESSION   ACT        219 

ment  the  alternative  of  waiving,  when  it  might  think 
fit,  the  trial  hy  court-martial,  and  prosecuting  the 
offender  by  ordinary  law. 

The  Legislature  preferred  this  course  to  that  of 
proclaiming  martial  law  generally,  because,  while  it 
drew  very  prominently  the  attention  of  all  disaffected 
British  subjects  and  foreigners  across  the  border  to 
the  peril  they  would  run  of  prompt  trial  by  court- 
martiiil  for  aiding  the  Rebellion,  it  left  the  ordinary 
law  of  the  country  in  full  force  for  all  other  purposes, 
and  would  probably  be  less  likely  to  excite  hostile 
feeling  in  the  United  States  than  the  summary  pro- 
ceedings which  might  in  some  cases  possibly  take 
place  were  the  law  of  the  land  generally  superseded 
by  the  law-martial. 

It  was  well  understood  in  passing  it  that  Ameri- 
can citizens  and  other  aliens,  who  by  residence 
in  Canada  or  otherwise  had  incurred  obligations  of 
allegiance  to  the  Crown,  and  also  all  British  subjects, 
were  liable,  should  they  endeavour  to  upset  the 
Government  of  the  Queen,  to  be  tried  before  the 
ordinary  courts  of  law  for  high  treason ;  but  in  the 
case  of  those  aliens,  who,  without  having  previously 
incurred  any  such  obligation  of  allegiance,  entered 
the  country  to  aid  in  a  revolt,  it  was  held  that  they 
could  not  properly  be  so  tried,  i.e.  arraigned  and 
made  liable  to  capital  punishment  for  violating  an 
allegiance  which  they  had  never  acknowledged. 

My  father,  with  reference  to  this  Act,  says  :— 

It  was  not  passed  without  a  consciousness  that  possibly  a 
difficulty  might  be  felt  in  England  as  to  allowing  it  to  remain 
in  force ;  but  the  very  existence  of  the  Government  required 
this  responsibility  to  be  assumed,  and  confidence  was  felt  that 
her  Majesty's  Government  would  incline  strongly  to  uphold  a 


220    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

measure  just  and  even  humane  in  itself,  and  prompted  by  the 
strongest  sense  of  duty  to  the  Crown  and  to  a  faithful  and 
loyal  people. 

The  Government  in  England,  acting  upon  the 
advice  of  the  law  officers  of  the  Crown,  were  dis- 
posed to  disallow  this  Act,  not  on  the  ground  of 
illegality,  for  it  was  admitted  not  to  be  inconsistent 
with  international  law,  and  that  it  was  within  the 
competence  of  the  Colonial  Legislature  to  pass  it, 
but  because  it  was  deemed  that  it  was  not  properly 
framed,  that  its  provisions  were  calculated  to  produce 
certain  difficulties,  and  that,  if  it  was  considered  ex- 
pedient to  authorise  the  trial  by  court-martial,  instead 
of  ordinary  courts,  of  parties  charged  with  high 
treason  committed  in  the  province,  this  ought  to 
be  done  by  an  Act  not  directed  so  specially  against 
foreigners,  but  equally  against  all  persons— foreigners, 
natives  of  the  country,  and  others. 

It  was  contended  also  (in  opposition  to  the  view 
which  had  been  taken  by  the  law  officers  of  the 
Crown  in  Canada)  that  all  aliens,  subjects  of  a 
friendly  power,  invading  her  Majesty's  territory  to 
upset  her  Government,  whether  they  had  previously 
incurred  any  obligations  of  allegiance  or  not,  could  be 
legally  and  properly  tried  by  the  ordinary  courts  for 
"  high  treason,"  they  having  none  of  the  rights  which 
could  be  claimed  by  alien  enemies,  but  being  alien 
"  amys,"  i.e.  subjects  of  a  friendly  Power  at  peace 
with  the  Queen,  and  as  such  owing  her  allegiance 
directly  they  entered  her  dominions. 

Lord  Brougham,  in  some  remarks  made  in  the 
House  of  Lords,  condemned  as  absurd  an  opinion 
supposed  (in  error)  to  have  been  given  by  the 


vin        FOREIGN   AGGRESSION   ACT       L>LM 

Attorney-General  in  Canada  as  to  the  trial  of  aliens 
for  treason. 

With  respect  to  this,  Lord  Lyiidliurst  had  shown 
to  Lord  Brougham  some  rough  memoranda  my 
father  had  placed  in  his  hands,  and  writes  thus  to 
the  latter  in  1839  as  to  them:— 

The  historical  facts  and  the  authorities  which  you  have 
collected,  with  the  observations  you  made  upon  them,  are  so 
interesting,  that  I  very  much  wish,  if  you  have  sufficient 
leisure,  you  would  put  them  in  writing,  that  the  whole  question 
may  be  carefully  and  fully  considered. 

He  also  enclosed  in  this  letter  one  from  Lord 
Brougham  to  himself,  in  which  the  latter  says : — 

I  return  the  Chief- Justice's  paper,  which  I  have  only  just 
got  and  read  over  hastily. 

What  I  said  was  "  too  absurd  to  require  a  serious  answer""1 
was  by  no  means  the  doubtful  and  difficult  question  here 
discussed;  but  that  an  alien  cannot  commit  treason,  and  is 
an  outlaw,  and  to  be  therefore  shot  summarily.  However,  I 
differ  with  the  Chief- Justice,  on  the  whole. 

Whatever  the  merits  of  the  legal  points  involved, 
it  was  in  the  end  decided  not  to  interfere  with  the  Act. 

Of  the  prisoners  tried  for  offences  connected  with 
the  Rebellion,  several  were  disposed  of  by  military 
as  well  as  by  civil  courts.  Some  of  the  ringleaders 
were  executed,  some  transported,  and  most  of  the 
less  guilty  pardoned. 

1  have  referred  at  some  little  length  to  the  above 
matters,  as  it  will  explain  the  allusions  occurring  in 
my  father's  journal  while  in  England  in  1839  (Chapter 
X.)  to  reports  and  letters  to,  and  to  conversations 
with  public  men  with  respect  to  the  Liability  of 


222    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Aliens  to  be  tried  for  Treason;  the  Point  Pele 
Prisoners;  the  American  Invaders,  &c. 

The  measures  taken  in  respect  to  these  prisoners, 
and  the  cases  of  some  invaders  taken  in  arms,  who 
were  summarily  shot  in  the  Sandwich  district,  gave 
rise  to  much  correspondence. 

The  following  letter  from  the  Duke  of  Welling- 
ton to  Lord  Mahon,  7th  December  1838,  gives  his 
opinion  as  to  the  necessity  for  firmly  executing  the 
laws  and  carrying  out  a  determined  policy  at  this 
juncture : — 

What  right  have  we  to  endeavour  to  prevail  on  British  subjects 
to  emigrate  to  Canada  if  we  do  not  mean  to  protect  their  lives 
and  property,  and  to  execute  the  laws  that  have  that  in  view  ? 

If  we  ought  to  carry  the  law  into  execution  with  respect  to 
natives,  we  are  still  more  bound  to  take  that  course  in  respect 
to  foreigners,  who,  in  addition  to  all  that  can  be  urged  against 
the  act  of  rebellion  by  natives,  are  guilty  of  insolence  to  the 
laws  and  authority  of  a  foreign  Government. 

We  must  protect  our  English  subjects  against  these  attacks 
either  by  the  weapon  of  the  municipal  law,  or  by  making  war 
upon  the  foreign  Government  whose  subjects  attack  our  terri- 
tory and  our  subjects. 

This  is  the  common-sense  of  the  case.  Everything  else  is 
nonsense.1 

It  can  be  easily  understood  that  much  responsi- 
bility during  the  Rebellion  fell  upon  the  Government, 
and  that  not  a  little  of  this  devolved  upon  my  father, 
to  whom  the  head  of  the  Government  naturally 
looked  for  advice,  owing  to  his  long  experience  of 
public  life  and  of  the  people  of  Canada,  upon  many 
questions. 

1  "Conversations  with  the  Duke  of  Wellington/'  by  Lord  Mahon 
(afterwards  Earl  Stanhope),  1889. 


vni    CONDUCT  OF  PUBLIC  BUSINESS    223 

The  following  private  letter  to  Sir  George  Arthur,1 
then  Lieutenant-Governor,  will  show  how  anxious 
my  father  was  that  no  ground  should  be  given  for 
supposing  that  his  opinion  was  unduly  sought  lor, 
or  offered,  upon  questions  not  appertaining  to  his 
judicial  office  : — 

16th  April  1838. 

MY  DEAR  Siu  GKOHGE, — An  inquiry  which  you  made  this 
morning  induces  me  to  say  a  few  words  to  you  on  a  subject 
which  is  of  some  delicacy  and  no  little  consequence  to  the 
successful  and  agreeable  administration  of  the  Government.  I 
have,  besides,  a  personal  reason  for  availing  myself  of  a  fair 
excuse  for  addressing  some  remarks  to  vour  Excellency  upon  it. 
You  asked  me  what  had  been  the  course  usually  pursued  here 
in  regard  to  references  upon  various  public  matters  which  were 
under  the  consideration  of  the  Government.  There  is  no 
reason  why  any  peculiar  svsl'-ni  should  prevail  in  this  province 
with  regard  to  references  or  consultations.  What  is  right  in  • 
England  or  in  any  other  regularly  conducted  Government  will 
be  right  here,  and  no  deviation  from  the  proper  cour.-e  can 
continue  long  without  producing  inconveniences  and  disadvan- 
tages of  some  kind. 

The  Executive  Council  are  of  course  the  proper  advisers  on 
questions  of  policy  and  expediency,  the  Crown  officers  on  all 
matters  that  involve  legal  considerations — and  all  persons  in 
charge  of  departments  should  be  communicated  with  freely  on 
all  matters  connected  with  their  departments.  When  this  is 
not  done  they  have  not  the  ppportunity  which  they  should 
have  of  stating  objections;  and,  fancying  that  they  are  not 
confided  in,  they  grow  unfriendly,  jealous,  and  suspicious  ;  and 
there  is  much  excuse  for  their  becoming  so,  for  it  is  a  most 
uncomfortable  thing  to  feel  that  they  are  held  responsible  bv 
the  public  for  measures  and  arrangements  in  their  department 
upon  the  presumption  that  they  must  have  been  consulted, 
while  in  truth  they  may  have  heard  nothing  of  the  matter,  and 

1  Sir  George  Arthur  was  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Upper  Canada  1837 
to  1841,  succeeding  Sir  Francis  Head. 


224    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

may  have  had  no  opportunity  of  making  their  wishes  or 
opinions  known.  Human  nature  in  Upper  Canada  is  like 
human  nature  everywhere  else. 

With  regard  to  myself,  personally,  it  is  fair  towards  your 
Excellency,  and  but  justice  to  myself,  that  I  should  leave  no 
room  for  misapprehension. 

As  Chief- Justice,  I  am,  like  my  brother  judges,  liable  to  be 
called  on  for  reports,  opinions,  and  advice  in  those  cases  in 
which  recourse  would  be  had  to  the  judges  in  England,  and  in 
no  others.  I  have  no  concern  in  the  executive  affairs  of  the 
colony,  and  no  claim  or  wish  to  be  consulted  on  any  of  them, 
except  when  they  have  so  direct  a  bearing  upon  the  general 
administration  of  justice  as  to  make  such  a  reference  proper; 
and  the  more  your  Excellency  bears  this  in  mind,  the  better  it 
will  be,  for  it  is  most  desirable  that  everything  should  as  much 
as  possible  be  made  to  pass  through  its  proper  channel. 

I  had  been  sixteen  or  seventeen  years  Attorney-General, 
when  Sir  John  Colborne  came  here,  and  in  that  capacity  I  had 
to  be  necessarily  and  properly  in  constant  confidential  com- 
munication with  the  Lieutenant-Governor.  I  continued  in 
that  office  for  seven  months  after  his  arrival,  and  when  I  was 
made  Chief-Justice  I  became — according  to  the  Colonial  system 
of  that  time — President  of  the  Executive  Council,  so  that  the 
habit  of  frequent  reference  to  me  was  not  interrupted. 

During  his  administration  that  system  was  changed,  and  I 
became  merely  Chief-Justice  and  Speaker  of  the  Legislative 
Council,  having  in  neither  capacity  anything  to  do  with  the 
executive  measures  of  the  Government,  but  my  long  acquaint- 
ance with  public  business  gave  me  a  good  deal  of  traditionary 
knowledge,  which  it  was  desirable  the  Government  should  have 
the  advantage  of.  Most  (if  not  all)  of  the  original  officers  of 
the  Government  had  passed  off  the  stage,  and  I  was  a  sort  of 
connecting  link  between  the  first  and  second  generation,  having 
long  acted  with  those  whose  experience  was  no  longer  available 
to  the  Government. 

When  Sir  Francis  Head  came,  I  took  an  early  opportunity 
of  explaining  to  him  the  relations  which  my  office  and  duties 
placed  me  in  to  the  Government.  In  the  last  few  months  of 
his  residence  here  the  times  were  such  that  it  was  the  plain 


vin  OFFERED   KNIGHTHOOD 

duty  of  every  one  to  be  useful  in  all  things  to  the  utmost 
extent,  and  in  the  hurry  and  anxieties  of  the  moment  perhaps 
he  did  not  constantly  bear  in  mind  distinctions  of  this  kind, 
which,  nevertheless,  cannot  be  expediently  overlooked. 

I  have  troubled  your  Excellency  with  this  explanation  because 
it  may  be  useful. 

I  do  not  affect  to  be  without  the  common  feeling  of  anxiety 
that  all  things  may  be  done  for  the  best  in  the  country  I  live 
in,  and  from  a  principle  of  duty  any  information  I  ]><> 
upon  public  questions,  and  my  opinions  upon  private  matters 
(not  interfering  with  the  free  discharge  of  my  judicial  duties), 
are  at  the  service  of  the  representative  of  my  Sovereign,  when- 
ever he  may  think  proper  to  desire  them. 

But  my  wish  is  that  any  assistance  of  this  kind  should  be 
sought  and  rendered  in  such  a  manner  as  to  give  the  least 
possible  occasion  for  uneasiness  or  remark  in  any  quarter. 

I  shall  take  it  for  granted  that  your  Excellency  will  never 
think  it  necessary  to  refer  to  me  on  my  own  account,  except  in 
those  cases  when  it  would  be  reasonably  suppo>ed  that  I  must 
have  been  consulted,  and  where,  consequently,  I  should  share 
the  responsibility  for  any  erroneous  decision. 

I  am  sure  your  Excellency's  experience  will  prevent  your 
misapprehending  anything  I  have  stated,  or  my  object  in  being 
thus  explicit. — I  am,  very  respectfully  and  faithfully,  your 
Excellency's  obedient  servant,  JOHN"  U.  ROHINSON. 

For  his  services  to  the  Crown,  my  father  was,  in 
1838,  offered  the  honour  of  knighthood,  which  he 
declined,  and  the  following  extract  from  the  Upper 
Canada  Gazette,  with  respect  to  Colonel  MacNab  and 
himself,  refers  to  this  : — 

GOVERNMENT  HOUSE,  3rd  May  1838. 

In  giving  publicity  to  the  following  despatch,  the  Lieutenant- 
Governor  avails  himself  of  the  opportunity  it  affords  him  of 
expressing  his  high  sense  of  the  important  services  reported  to 
him  as  having  been  rendered  by  Colonel  MacNab,  during  the 
period  in  which  the  body  of  the  militia  of  Upper  Canada,  of 
which  he  had  the  command,  were  employed  in  suppressing 

P 


226    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

an  unnatural  and  unprovoked  rebellion,  and  in  repelling  the 
foreign  outlaws  and  brigands  who  had  attempted  its  invasion. 

His  Excellency  much  regrets  that  his  Honour  the  Chief- 
Justice  has,  from  motives  of  the  most  peculiar  delicacy,  declined 
the  honour  intended  to  have  been  conferred  on  him,  as  the 
Lieutenant-Governor  feels  assured  that  it  would  have  afforded 
all  classes  of  her  Majesty's  subjects  in  this  colony  the  greatest 
satisfaction,  that  a  mark  of  royal  approbation  had  been 
bestowed  on  a  public  officer,  whose  long  and  arduous  services, 
and  whose  eminent  abilities  and  integrity  in  the  discharge  of 
his  official  duties,  so  fully  entitle  him  to  any  distinction  which 
his  Sovereign  might  graciously  deem  it  proper  to  confer  on 
him. — By  command  of  his  Excellency,  J.  JOSEPH. 

(Copy.) 
No.  42. 

DOWNING  STREET,  14#A  March  1838. 

SIR, — I  have  had  the  honour  to  receive  Sir  Francis  Head's 
despatch  of  the  1st  February  (No.  14),  calling  the  notice 
of  her  Majesty's  Government  to  the  important  services  of 
Colonel  Allan  MacNab  and  Mr.  Chief-Justice  Robinson,  during 
the  late  insurrection  in  Upper  Canada,  and  suggesting  that  the 
honour  of  knighthood  should  be  conferred  on  these  gentlemen. .  .  . 

In  my  despatch  of  the  30th  January  last  (No.  16)  I  have 
already  conveyed  to  you  the  Queen's  gracious  approbation 
of  such  of  Colonel  MacNab's  services  as  had  at  that  time  been 
brought  under  her  Majesty's  notice.  I  have  received  her 
Majesty's  commands  to  express  her  high  satisfaction  at  the 
courage,  spirit,  and  ability,  which  he  has  displayed  in  the  trans- 
actions which  have  been  since  reported  to  me. 

Her  Majesty  will  not  fail  to  take  into  her  favourable  con- 
sideration Sir  F.  Head's  suggestion,  that  some  public  mark  of 
her  approbation  should  be  bestowed  on  Colonel  MacNab. 

I  have  laid  before  the  Queen  Sir  Francis  Head's  report 
of  the  services  of  Mr.  Chief-Justice  Robinson  ;  and  have  at 
the  same  time  had  the  honour  to  submit  to  her  Majesty 
that  gentleman's  letter  declining  the  honour  solicited  for  him 
by  Sir  Francis  Head.  I  have  received  her  Majesty's  com- 
mands to  express,  through  you,  to  Mr.  Robinson,  her  appro- 


vin  THE   CAROLINE  •>•>- 

bat  ion  of  his  long  and  valuable  exertions  in  the  service  of  the 
Crown,  and  her  sense  of  the  disinterested  motives  by  which  his 
letter  of  the  6th  ultimo  was  dictated. — I  h.-ivc.  \:c. 

(Signed)         GI.F.VKU:. 

My  father's  reasons  for  requesting  that  this 
intended  distinction  should  not  be  conferred  upon 
him  are  thus  explained  by  himself: — 

Sir  Francis  Head,  no  doubt  from  the  kindest  feeling,  wrote 
to  request,  during  the  Rebellion  of  1837,  that  the  honour  of 
knighthood  should  be  conferred  upon  Mr.  MaeNab  and  myself 
— being  the  Speakers  of  the  respective  Houses,  and  both  active 
on  that  occasion. 

I  happened  to  hear  that  he  had  written  to  that  effect  from 
a  gentleman  to  whom  he  had  mentioned  it  in  confidence,  and  I 
was  in  time  to  prevent  hi*  good  intentions  from  being  carried 
out,  by  writing  to  Lord  Glenelg  to  beg  that,  so  far  as  I  was 
concerned,  it  might  not  be  done.  The  Government,  for  some 
reason  or  other,  had  never  conferred  knighthood  upon  the 
Judges  in  these  provinces,  as  they  have  occasionally  done  in  the 
Eastern  and  Southern  Colonies  and,  I  believe,  in  the  West  Indies. 

VAs  Chief-Justice,  therefore,  I  did  not  feel  that  I  had  any 
obvious  claim  to  it,  while  Mr.  Sewell  had  been  many  years 
longer  discharging  with  great  credit  the  duties  of  Chief- 
Justice  in  Lower  Canada  without  being  so  distinguished  ;  and 
it  seemed  to  me  rather  absurd  to  allow  myself  to  be  knighted 
foi\merely  doing  my  dutv,  as  everybody  around  me  had  done 
in  a  period  of  trouble  and  danger  to  all. 

The  letters  below  refer  to  the  period  of  the 
Rebellion : — 

From  Sir  Francis  Head  (from  before  Navy  Island  and  -chile 
mi/  fatJier  was   evidently,  during  hi*   alienee,    acting  at 

Government  House?) 

CHIPPEWA,  2nd  January  1838. 

MY  DEAR  CHIEF, — I  have  not  a  moment  to  write,  but  I 
wish  to  tell  you  my  opinion  of  the  capture  of  the  Caroline, 

1  These  letters  were  evidently  seut  by  private  hand,  having  no  post- 
mark on  the  envelope. 


228    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

as  far  as  I  have  had  time  to  form  it  from  the  facts  before  my 
eyes.  It  has  caused  wonderful  excitement,  and  has  agitated 
what  was  before  tranquil,  but  this,  I  think,  will  be  produc- 
tive of  good.  As  long  as  Jonathan  could  laugh  at  M'Kenzie 
firing  at  us,  it  was  a  capital  joke.  Now  they  are  lugged  in  for 
his  misdemeanours;  and  I  think  it  will  make  them  reflect. 
— Yours  in  haste,  F.  B.  HEAD. 

His  Honour  The  CHIEF-JUSTICE, 
Government  House,  Toronto. 

CHIPPEWA,  4th  January  1838. 

We  have  made  all  our  preparations  for  attacking  the 
wasps1  nest  on  Saturday  morning  next,  but  I  begin  to  think 
they  will  fly  away. 

I  hope  you  are  not  bent  to  the  ground  by  the  weight  of  my 
chain.  I  am  glad  to  get  it  off  my  own  neck. 

From  Sir  Allan  (then  Colonel)  MacNdb  (when  before 
Navy  Island). 

CHIPPEWA,  5th  January  1838. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — I  hope  that  your  many  friends  have  given 
you  regular  accounts  of  our  proceedings  here.  Every  prepara- 
tion that  could  be  made  has  been  made.  We  have  now  boats 
sufficient  to  cross  1200  men,  and  it  is  absolutely  necessary  to 
keep  active  operations  going  on. 

I  do  not  think  it  will  be  necessary  to  attack  the  island.1 
From  the  correspondence  I  have  had  with  the  authorities  on 
the  other  side,  I  have  formed  my  opinion. 

I  am  quite  satisfied  that  the  destruction  of  the  Caroline 
and  our  active  measures  here  have  produced  all  this.  They  are 
much  alarmed  for  the  safety  of  Buffalo  and  all  their  frontier 
towns,  and  that  alarm  creates  the  great  excitement. 

I  am  not  insensible  to  the  noble  triumph  it  would  be  to 
put  down  the  long  dreaded  revolt,  about  which  so  much  has 
been  said  here  and  in  England.  That  we  should  have  driven 

1  As  we  have  before  mentioned,  the  enemy  was  compelled,  as  Sir 
Allan  anticipated,  to  evacuate  the  island  by  artillery  fire  without  any 
attack  upon  it  by  the  infantry. 


vni     STATE   OF   LOWER   PROVINCE     229 

these  rebels  from  our  country,  defied  and  dispersed  those  in  the 
United  States  who  assisted  them,  without  the  assistance  of  a 
soldier  or  the  loss  of  a  man,  this  is  the  kind  of  victory  I  wish 
to  obtain  for  Upper  Canada,  and  to  gain  that  great  object  all 
my  operations  are  directed  ;  but,  in  doing  this,  we  must  pre- 
pare for  the  fight,  and  if  we  can  gain  our  object  and  avoid  the 
lo«  of  life  with  honour  to  ourselves,  rely  upon  it,  I  will  do 
it. — Yours  very  sincerely,  ALLAN  MACNAB. 

From  Sir  John  Colborne l  (soon  after  the  attempt  upon  Toronto 
and  outbreak  in  the  Upper  Province). 

MONTREAL,  6th  January  1838. 

MY  DEAR  Cnn  F-JrsricK, — Do  acquaint  my  friends  the 
Attorney  and  Solicitor-General  that  there  is  not  a  person  in 
Upper  Canada  more  aware  of  the  critical  position  of  affairs  in 
your  province  than  I  am,  or  more  alive  to  the  absolute  neces- 
sity of  sending  you  every  man  that  can  be  spared  to  Niagara 
and  Toronto.  The  fact  is,  we  have  been  packing  our  troops 
off  as  fast  as  we  can  find  conveyance  for  them. 

You  will  have  two  regiments  among  you  in  a  few  days,  and 
more  if  I  can  venture  to  part  with  them.  Read  the  enclosures 
which  I  have  forwarded  to  Sir  Francis.  You  may  rely  upon  it 
that  I  shall  never  require  to  be  prompted. — Yours  very  sin- 
cerely, J.  COLBORXE. 

From  the  Same. 
(As  to  State  of  Affairs  in  the  Lower  Province.) 

MONTREAL,  19th  February  1838. 

DEAR  CHIEF- JUSTICE, — Without  attempting  to  account 
for  my  silence  or  requesting  you  to  believe  that  I  have  from 
day  to  day  made  good  resolutions  to  write  to  you,  I  shall  seize 
the  opportunity  of  a  quiet  half-hour  to  have  a  talk  with  you 
on  our  affairs.  I  am  still  annoyed  incessantly  with  reports 
from  all  quarters  of  the  evil  intentions  and  designs  of  our 
skirmishing,  unseen  enemy,  acting  on  the  extended  line  from 

1  Afterwards  Field-Marshal  Lord  Seaton,  Lieutenant-Governor  of 
Upper  Canada  1828  to  1835,  Governor  and  Commauder-in-Chief  of  both 
provinces  of  Canada  during  the  Rebellion  1837. 


230    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Amherstburgh  and  Sandwich  to  Stanstead,  one  of  our  eastern 
townships. 

At  Kingston  the  officer  in  command  has  been  more  alarmed 
during  the  last  week  than  at  any  period  of  the  troubles,  and 
insists  that  there  are  not  less  than  two  thousand  brigands 
assembling  at  Watertown  and  five  hundred  at  French  Creek, 
provided  with  pikes  and  artillery  to  cross  and  attack  the 
steamboats. 

The  fact  is,  that  when  it  was  known  that  two  regiments 
had  been  sent  by  me  from  Montreal  to  the  Upper  Province, 
and  that  two  companies  of  a  third  regiment  were  in  motion, 
the  rebels,  assembled  at  Swanton,  St.  Albans,  and  Plattsburg, 
imagined  that  the  regulars  would  have  full  employment ;  and 
since  that  time  contracts  for  arms,  ammunition,  and  field-pieces 
have  been  made  by  them,  and  preparations  have  been  going  on 
near  this  frontier.  They  have  so  far  succeeded  in  creating  an 
alarm  that  about  400  persons  have  left  Montreal,  and  there  is 
more  excitement  in  this  district  than  there  has  been  since  the 
outbreak  of  the  revolt. 

We  have  been  obliged  to  arrest  two  members  of  Parliament 
at  Nicolette,  near  Three  Rivers,  for  spreading  false  reports. 

I  have  been  compelled  to  assemble  a  sufficient  force  at 
St.  John's  and  Acadie  to  attack  and  capture  the  invaders 
should  they  be  inclined  to  pass  the  frontier  by  La  Colle,  &c. 
The  Habitants'  houses  in  all  the  villages  from  La  Prairie  to  the 
frontier  are  well  filled  with  troops,  and  I  have  brought  down 
the  Glengarry  Volunteers  to  show  them  that,  if  their  friends  on 
the  other  side  of  the  line  will  not  disperse,  they  must  suffer  for 
their  folly  and  their  wickedness. 

Before  we  commence  any  discussion  upon  the  measures 
which  are  to  be  adopted  in  the  future  government  of  this 
province  we  must  prove  that  we  have  the  power  and  the  will 
to  enforce  obedience  to  the  law. 

I  intend  to  adhere  to  martial  law  in  this  district  till  we 
hear  from  home  upon  the  subject.  Arrests  are  made  daily, 
and  it  will  be  difficult  to  adopt  measures  to  prevent  the  con- 
tinuance of  this  reign  of  terror. 

The  suspension  of  the  Constitution  would  be  the  first  act 
that  I  should  recommend.  If  they  have  courage  to  agree  to 


via          LIEUTENANT-GOVKRXORS 

tluit  measure1  time  will  be  <;iven  to  the  Cabinet  Minister^  to 
take  a  new  departure,  with  many  valuable  landmarks  for  their 
guidance. 

\\  V  have  every  reason  to  be  satisfied  with  the  efforts  of  the 
Governor  of  Vermont  and  of  General  Wool,  the  ollicer  em- 
ployed under  General  Scott.  Complaints  have  been  made 
against  General  Scott  for  his  activity  by  the  voters  of  New 
York. — Very  sincerely  you:  J.  COLBO. 

AVhatever  may  be  the  opinion  held  by  any  indi- 
vidual as  to  the  Government  policy  prior  to  and 
during  the  Rebellion,  it  must,  I  think,  be  admitted 
that  in  many  respects  those  representing  the  Crown 
in  lrpper  Canada,  Sir  John  Colborne  (afterwards 
Lord  Scaton),  Sir  Francis  Head,  and  Sir  George 
Arthur,  were  all  possessed  of  qualifications  fitting 
them  rather  exceptionally  for  positions  of  authority 
at  a  disturbed  and  critical  time. 

All  of  them  were  distinguished  soldiers,  active 
and  able  men,  and  with  experience  of  the  world. 

Sir  John  Colborne 2 — prudent  and  extremely  cool 
in  emergency — was  a  man  of  few  words  and  prompt 
action.  Napier  describes  him  as  a  "  man  of  singular 
talent  for  war/'  He  had  served  in  Holland,  Egypt, 
and  the  Peninsula,  and  had  been  Lieutenant-Governor 
of  Guernsey. 

At  Waterloo,  by  his  sudden  attack  with  the  52nd 
Regiment,  made  without  orders  and  at  a  critical 
moment,  upon  the  flank  of  the  French  Imperial  Guard, 
he  had  contributed  largely  to  its  complete  defeat. 

Sir  Francis  Head,  chivalrous,  brave,  and  outspoken, 
was  a  man  of  tireless  activity.  An  excellent  horse- 

1  Tliis  nioHsure  was  adopted. 

-  It  is  to  his  irreat  interest  in  educatioual  matters  that  Toronto  mainly 
owes  I'pper  Canada  College. 


232    SIR  JOHN  BEVEKLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

man,  he  had  performed  exceptionally  long  and  rapid 
journeys  in  South  America.  He  had  served  in  the 
Royal  Engineers  at  Waterloo,1  was  known  as  a  clever 
writer,  and  was  understood  when  appointed  to  Canada 
to  be  so  liberal  in  his  views  that  he  was  looked  upon 
by  some  as  a  tried  reformer. 

Sir  George  Arthur,  high-minded,  firm,  and 
humane,  had  had  experience  of  government  before 
he  came  to  Canada. 

He  had  served  in  Egypt  and  Holland,  been 
granted  the  freedom  of  the  City  of  London  for 
exceptionally  gallant  services  at  Flushing,  and  been 
Lieutenant- Governor  of  Honduras  and  Van  Diemen's 
Land. 

In  the  former  island  he  had  suppressed  a  serious 
revolt  of  the  slave  population,  and  his  despatches  on 
the  subject  of  slavery  had  attracted  the  attention  of 
Wilberforce.  In  Van  Diemen's  Land  he  had  done 
much  to  improve  the  convict  system,  and  in  both 
Governments  had  received  exceptional  marks  of  the 
esteem  of  the  inhabitants  and  their  appreciation  of 
his  services. 

Amid  the  political  excitement  and  turmoil  which 
surrounded  all  three  of  these  representatives  of  the 
Sovereign  during  the  time  they  held  office,  they  were 
well  qualified  to  act  impartially  and  with  deliberation, 
and  their  sole  aim  was  to  quell  disorder  and  outrage, 
and  preserve  Canada  to  the  Crown. 

While  dealing  stringently  with  the  leaders  and 
agitators  who  had  stirred  up  the  ignorant  to  commit 
treason,  they  were  all  of  a  forbearing  and  humane 

1  He  was,  I  believe,  the  only  British  officer  present  both  at  Ligny  and 
Waterloo,  having-  been  sent  on  some  duty  to  Field-Marshal  Blucher's 
army  in  time  to  see  the  former  battle,  and  returning  in  time  for  the 
latter. 


I 


viii          LIEUTENANT-GOVERNORS          233 

temper — extremely  anxious  not  to  bear  too  hardly 
upon  the  deluded  followers  of  these  leaders. 

Some  have  considered  them  as  cold  and  rather 
unsympathetic  soldiers,  but  have  strangely  misinter- 
preted their  characters.1 

It  may  perhaps  be  pardonable  in  me  to  give  the 
following  extract  from  a  confidential  letter  to  my 
father  written  in  1838  by  Sir  George  Arthur  with 
respect  to  the  prisoners  who  had  been  convicted  of 
treason : — 

The  Attorney-General  returned  to  me  last  evening  the  list  of 
the  persons  convicted  and  who  have  petitioned.  I  do  feel 
very  anxious  that  not  one  should  be  recommended  for  trans- 
portation in  whose  favour  anything  can  ho  advanced  to  save 
him  and  his  family  from  the  ignominy  of  this  disgraceful 
punishment. 

I  know  there  is  much  to  be  said  against  all  the   parties 

implicated  ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  from  the  bottom  of  my 

heart  I  think  that  if  ever  there  was  any  excuse  for  treason  it 

extend  to  all  but  the  ten  or  twenty  ringleaders  in  this 

province. 

Sir  Francis  Head  carried  forbearance  to  its  very 
utmost  limits. 

Writing  of  these  events  in  1846,2  and  explaining 
his  policy  of  forbearance  up  to  the  point  when  the 
use  made  by  the  enemy  of  the  steamer  Caroline 
forced  him  to  change  it,  he  says : — 

The  difficulty  which,  without  exception,  was  the  greatest  I 
had  to  contend  with  during  my  residence  in  Upper  Canada  was 
that  of  restraining  the  power  which,  under  a  moral  influence, 
had  rallied  round  the  British  flag. 

1  Both  Lord  Seaton  and  Sir  Francis  Head  lived  to  he  over  eighty  years 
of  age.      I  remember  meeting  both  in  England  between  1857  and  1865. 
-  "  The  Emigrant/'  by  Sir  F.  B.  Head  (1846). 


234    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

For  nearly  a  fortnight  the  militia,  in  obedience  to  my 
repeated  orders,  without  returning  a  shot  had  submitted  in 
patience  to  the  fire  of  twenty-two  pieces  of  artillery,  the 
property  of  the  Government  of  the  United  States. 

By  many,  whos^  counsel  it  was  my  duty  to  respect,  I  was 
admonished  that  it  was  not  politic  to  allow  the  militia  of  the 
province  to  be  subjected  to  insult  and  disgrace. 

Many  of  my  steadiest  adherents  seriously  disapproved  of 
the  course  I  was  pursuing;  and  even  Captain  Drew,  R.N.,  now 
in  this  country  (England),  who  on  the  outbreak  had  joined  the 
ranks  of  the  militia  with  a  musket  on  his  shoulder,  and  who 
was  ready  enough  when  called  upon  to  do  what  was  right, 
declared  to  Sir  Allan  MacNab  that  if  the  system  I  was  pursuing 
was  much  longer  continued,  he  should  feel  it  due  to  himself  and 
his  profession  to  retire  from  the  scene. 

I  need  hardly  say  with  how  much  pain  I  listened  to  obser- 
vations of  this  nature,  and  how  anxious  I  was  to  recover  the 
territory  I  had  lost.  On  the  other  hand,  the  more  I  reflected 
on  the  subject,  the  more  I  felt  convinced  of  the  propriety,  as 
well  as  prudence  of  the  policy  I  was  pursuing. 

In  August  1837  my  father's  continuous  applica- 
tion to  work  brought  on  a  serious  illness  endangering 
his  life,1  which  compelled  him  to  apply  for  leave  of 
absence  upon  medical  grounds. 

On  27th  August  1838,  he  writes  thus  to  the 
Honourable  John  Macaulay,  acting  as  secretary  to 
the  Lieutenant-Governor,  Sir  George  Arthur  :— 

.  .  .  Your  letter  to  me  came  at  a  time  when  I  was  wholly 
unable  to  answer  it,  and  when  I  was  indeed  so  ill  that  it  was 
not  communicated  to  me  then,  nor  for  some  days  afterwards. 

I  am  recovering  rapidly  from  the  effects  of  this  severe  attack, 
and  of  the  remedies  to  which  it  was  necessary  to  resort.  My 

1  I  gather  from  a  letter  to  him  from  Dr.  Widmer  that  he  was  suffering 
from  what  is  termed  ' s  Nephralgia. " 


viii  SERIOUS   ILLNESS 

illness  does  not  indicate,  I  hope,  any  permanent  decline  of 
health,  but  by  my  friends  it  is  considered  to  have  ari-« 
evidently  from  an  incessant  and  perhaps  injudicious  application 
to  business,  long  continued,  that  they  have  been  earnest  in 
urging  upon  me  to  solicit  from  the  Government  such  an  interval 
of  relaxation  as  may  be  likely  to  restore  me  to  my  usual  state 
of  health. 

The  physicians  especially  who  attended  me  (Doctors  Short, 
Widmer,  and  King)  have  enjoined  this  upon  me  strongly  as  a 
matter  of  necessity  ;  and  as  their  opinion  on  this  head  might 
be  made  the  ground  of  my  application,  I  have  requested  that 
they  would  make  their  statement  in  writing. 

They  have  done  this  in  the  papers  which  I  now  send.  M) 
judgment  confirms  their  opinion,  and  I  have  determined, 
though  with  reluctance  on  some  grounds,  to  apply  for  his 
Excellency's  permission  to  be  absent  for  a  year  in  England, 
during  which  period  I  should  probably  reside  chieHy  at 
Cheltenham.  .  .  . 

\Yith  respect  to  the  discharge  of  my  duty  in  my  absence, 
the  late  addition  to  the  number  of  Judges  makes  the  Jk-nch 
now  consist  of  five  instead  of  three,  and  as  four  only  can  sit 
together  in  Bank,  according  to  the  Act,  the  Court  will  still  be 
full.  In  regard  to  the  additional  duty  which  my  absence  will 
throw  upon  my  brother  Judges,  I  know  I  may  venture  to 
with  confidence,  that  it  will  be  undertaken  with  cheerfuhu 

I  beg  to  add  further  that  during  the  nine  years  and 
upwards  that  I  have  been  Chief-Justice,  I  have  not,  for  any 
private  purpose  either  of  business  or  pleasure,  been  absent  that 
I  can  remember  for  a  single  day  from  my  duty  in  the  Courts 
or  in  the  Legislature. 

It  will  not  be  in  the  power  of  his  Excellency  the  Lieutenant- 
Governor,  I  believe,  under  existing  regulations,  to  grant  me  a 
longer  leave  than  six  months,  and  for  any  extension  beyond 
that  time  I  must  rely  upon  the  kind  consideration  of  the 
Secretary  of  State.  To  enable  his  Excellency  to  judge  more 
satisfactorily  of  the  propriety  of  aiding  my  application,  I  have 
thought  it  best  to  make  these  statements  here  in  the  Colony, 
Nvhere  the  facts  must  be  generally  known.  .  .  . 


236     SIR  JOHN   BEVERLEY   ROBINSON 

Writing  afterwards  (in  1839  and  1840)  to  his 
sister,  Mrs.  Boulton,  who  was  also  unwell,  and  re- 
ferring to  this  illness,  he  says  : — 

I  am  wearing  out,  I  suppose,  from  foolish  fagging  and 
anxiety,  and  you  from  watching  and  worrying  for  all  your 
neighbours  and  kinsfolk.  I  have  worried  myself  too  much 
through  life  from  anxiety  that  in  public  matters  all  things 
should  go  as  they  ought.  However,  I  would  not  exchange 
the  satisfaction  I  feel  in  having  done  what  I  believed  to  be 
my  duty  for  any  consideration. 

When  I  had  that  serious  illness  in  August  1837,  the  first  I 
ever  had,  my  mind  was  constantly  turning  to  early  scenes. 
When  I  looked  back  to  the  twenty  or  thirty  years  that  had 
intervened,  I  felt  that  I  had  been  labouring  and  worrying 
myself  in  great  measure  in  vain. 

After  all,  my  dear  sister,  it  comes  to  this,  that,  living 
innocently,  and  striving  earnestly  to  do  our  duty  in  all  things, 
we  must  bring  ourselves  to  feel  that,  while  we  are  thus  acting, 
we  are  fulfilling  the  will  of  God,  and  that  whatever  ills  we  are 
doomed  to  bear  in  the  dispensation  of  His  Providence  are  not 
properly  to  be  regarded  as  misfortunes,  but  must  be  intended 
for  our  good. 

Having  obtained  six  months'  leave  of  absence, 
my  father  and  mother,  with  their  younger  children,1 
left  Toronto  for  New  York  (27th  September  1838) 
via  Lake  Champlain,  and  reached  Bristol  in  the  Great 
Western,  one  of  the  first  steam  vessels  to  cross  the 
Atlantic,  after  an  exceptionally  quick  voyage  of 
twelve  days,  twelve  hours. 


1  Of  the  other  children,  Christopher  remained  at  Upper  Canada 
College,  and  Lukin  and  John  joined  the  party  afterwards  for  a  short 
time  in  England. 


CHAPTER   IX 

THE  DURHAM  REPORT— THE  UNION  BILL— VIEWS  AS 
TO  CONFEDERATION,  ETC. 

1838-40 

Arrival  in  England— The  Durham  Report— The  Union  Hill— Letters  to 
;;iry  of  State— Publication  of  "Canada  ;uul  the  Canada  Hill  "— 
Provisions  of  Union  Bill  of  UJoM  -My  father's  ohji-ctions  to  them — 
Feeling  in  18.'}!)  as  to  union  of  all  the  British  North-American 
provinces  --•  My  father's  views— Considers  the  union  of  the  two 
provinces  alone  certain  to  lead  to  embarrassments  —  Alternative- 
scheme  giving  Upper  Canada  a  seaport  —  Letter  to  Sir  Charles 
Metcalfe  (1844)  as  to  the  Union  Act— Deadlock  in  the  Provincial 
Legislature  under  the  Act — Confederation  ensue? — Summary  of 
grounds  for  opposing  Union  Bill—  His  views  of  British  (iovernment 
in  the  Colonies  under  Responsible  Government  with  respect  to 
maintenance  of  British  connection. 

UPON  reaching  England  my  father  and  his  party 
spent  two  days  at  Clifton,  and  went  thence  to 
Cheltenham,  to  be  near  my  mother's  relations,  the 
Merrys.  The  following  cordial  welcome  from  Sir 
Francis  Head,  then  living  at  Atherstone  Hall  in 
Warwickshire,  met  them  on  their  arrival  :— 

20th  October  1838. 

Welcome  to  the  shores  of  Old  England !  I  can  scarcely 
believe  you  are  once  again  in  the  same  country  with  me.  For 
the  first  time  since  I  left  Toronto  I  miss  my  power,  for  if  I  had 
an  orderly  sergeant,  or  an  aide-de-camp,  or  a  secretary,  I  would 
iul  them  all  to  the  Chief-Justice  to  beg  him  to  come  to  me. 
But  I  know  you  won't  refuse,  so  do  write  me  a  line,  and  fix  when 
you  and  Mrs.  Robinson  and  your  children  will  all  come  here. 

We  have  no  amusements  to  offer  you,  but  if  I  were  in 
prison  I  would  ask  you  to  come  to  me,  and  I  believe  I  should 
not  ask  in  vain. 

237 


238    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

So  my  Lord  Durham  has  broken  reins   and   traces,   and 
kicked  himself  clean  out  of  harness. 


With  reference  to  the  last  paragraph  of  this 
letter,  it  must  be  explained  that  during  the  events 
of  1838,  and  before  the  suppression  of  the  Rebellion, 
the  Constitution  in  Lower  Canada  had  been  (29th 
March  1838)  temporarily  suspended,  the  administra- 
tion being  carried  on  by  a  "  Special  Council." 

It  had  become  a  very  urgent  matter  to  determine 
by  what  civil  as  well  as  military  measures  peace  and 
prosperity  could  be  restored  and  maintained  in  the 
future,  and  a  feeling  of  loyalty  to  the  Crown  and 
harmony  between  the  French  and  English  portions 
of  the  colony  ensured. 

The  Earl  of  Durham  had  been  sent  to  Canada  as 
Governor-General  and  High  Commissioner  (arriving 
27th  May  1838),  charged  to  make  a  report  with  a 
view  to  "  the  adjustment  of  certain  important  affairs 
affecting  the  Provinces  of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada," 
and  it  was  generally  recognised  that  some  radical 
changes  in  the  system  of  government  of  a  liberal 
tendency  would  be  introduced.  He  remained  in 
Canada  a  little  over  five  months,  almost  entirely  in 
the  Lower  Province,  and  then,  on  account  of  the  dis- 
approval by  the  home  Government  of  some  of  his 
measures,  resigned,  and  on  3rd  November  left  Canada 
for  England.  It  is  his  resignation  to  which  Sir 
Francis  alludes  in  the  last  paragraph  of  his  letter 
given  above. 

On  the  31st  January  1839  Lord  Durham  pub- 
lished his  report  in  England,  where  my  father  was  at 
the  time.  It  was  ably  written,  and  entered  at  length 
into  the  state  of  things  existing  in  both  provinces  of 


ix    DURHAM  REPORT— UNION  BILL 

Canada,  with  the  causes  which,  in  his  opinion,  had 
led  up  to  it ;  and  recommended  the  union  of  Upper 
with  Lower  Canada  as  a  measure  necessary  for  future 
tranquillity  and  good  government — or,  more  accu- 
rately speaking,  a  "  re-union  "  of  these  two  provinces, 
which  had  been  one  until  they  were  divided  in  1791. 

Later  on,  20th  June  1839,  a  Bill,  framed  on  the 
basis  of  Lord  Durham's  report,  was  brought  in  by 
Lord  John  Russell  in  England,  for  "  Re-uniting  the 
Provinces  of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada,  and  for  the 
Government  of  the  United  Province." 

This  Bill,  commonly  spoken  of  as  "  The  Canada 
Bill "  and  "  The  Union  Bill,"  was  very  different  in 
some  important  provisions  and  details  from  that 
which  received  the  royal  assent  in  1840. 

At  this  time  my  father,  in  consequence  of  his 
intimate  acquaintance  with  Canadian  affairs,  was 
urgently  pressed  by  many  both  in  England  and 
Canada  to  make  public  his  views  with  respect  to 
the  Durham  report  and  the  proposed  union,  which 
he  eventually  did  in  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill," 
published  in  London  early  in  1840. 

Much  of  his  spare  time,  more  than  was  desirable 

doubt  as  far  as  his  restoration  to  health  was  con- 
cerned, was  taken  up,  during  1839-40,  with  the 
question  of  the  "  Union,"  and  on  this  account,  and 
the  better  to  explain  the  frequent  allusions  to  this 
subject  in  his  journal  and  correspondence1  while  in 
England  in  those  years,  I  give  below  what  he  says 
himself  in  an  entry  in  his  journal  as  to  the  course  he 
took.  This  entry  was  made  20th  January  1840,  just 
before  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill  "  was  about  to 
issue  from  the  press. 

1  See  Chaps.  X.  and  XI. 


240    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

From  my  Father's  Journal. 

I  came  over  to  England  in  1838.  A  wish  was  expressed  by 
Lord  Glenelg 1  to  see  me  on  Canadian  affairs.  I  saw  him  in 
November  and  December,  and  also  in  January  1839,  but  all 
discussion  for  practical  purposes  was  postponed  by  consent  till 
Lord  Durham's  report  should  be  received. 

This  came  in  February,  recommending  the  union  of  the 
Canadas  and  other  matters,  and  was  sent  to  me  for  remarks. 

On  23rd  February  1839  I  wrote  a  long  official  letter  on  the 
report,  objecting  to  the  union,  and  assigning  reasons. 

I  was  requested  to  state  what  I  would  prefer.  This  I  did 
in  official  letters  of  9th  and  29th  March  1839,  mentioning, 
when  I  gave  them  in  to  Lord  Normanby,  that  if  the  Govern- 
ment should  at  all  concur  in  my  suggestions,  of  course  I  should 
have  no  desire  to  make  my  letters  further  known,  but  that  if 
they  should  take  a  different  course,  I  must  be  considered  at 
liberty  to  state  publicly  what  I  had  advised  on  being  referred 
to  at  such  a  crisis.  He  assented  to  this. 

Neither  in  writing  nor  verbally  were  my  suggestions  ever 
discussed  with  me,  nor  do  I  know  by  whom  they  have  been  con- 
sidered, or  what  was  thought  of  them. 

After  this  I  heard  no  more  till  the  Queen's  message  an- 
nounced that  the  Government  had  determined  on  re-uniting 
the  provinces.  Reading  this  in  the  newspapers,  as  every  one 
else  did,  gave  me  the  first  intimation  that  they  favoured  this 
course. 

In  June  they  introduced  their  Bill,  of  which  I  was  as  wholly 
ignorant  as  if  I  had  been  in  India,  until  a  member  of  the 
House  of  Commons,  unconnected  with  the  Government,  gave 
me  a  copy. 

Of  Mr.  Thompson's  2  appointment,  or  the  objects  for  which 

1  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies.     Soon  after  this  (February  1839) 
Lord  Normanby  succeeded  Lord  Glenelg,  and  was  not  long  afterwards 
(August  1839)  replaced  by  Lord  John  Russell. 

2  In  the  autumn  of   1839  Mr.   Poulett-Thompson    (afterwards  Lord 
Sydenham)  was  sent  to  Canada  to  succeed   Lord  Durham.     He  was  to 
obtain  information  as  to  details  which  had  been  found  wanting  in  the 
Union  Bill,  and  endeavour  to  influence  opinion  in  its  favour.      In  the 
meantime  the  Bill  was  withdrawn  for  a  session. 


ix    DURHAM  REPORT— UNION   BILL     I'll 

he  was  sent,  or  his  instructions,  not  a  word  was  e\<  r  said 
to  me. 

Lord  John  Russell  has  communicated  with  me  on  two  other 
subjects  in  writing,  and  has  seen  me  once,  but  never  alluded  to 
their  measures  respecting  Canada,  nor  did  I.  I  have  always 
abstained  from  inquiring  (as  their  desire  seemed  to  me  to  be 
ved),  and  have  contented  myself  with  letting  it  be  seen 
that  I  was  willing  to  give  them  all  the  information  in  my  power. 

Karly  in  November  1839  I  began  a  paper  on  the  Bill,  and 
having  said  what  I  desired  upon  its  principles  and  details,  I 
determined  that  I  would  print  it,1  with  an  introductory 
chapter,  and  a  letter  to  Lord  John  Russell.  The  latter  I 
made  longer  than  I  had  at  first  intended. 

All  was  written,  and  the  whole  examination  of  the  Bill 
printed  before  anything  was  known  of  the  opinions  of  the 
legislative  bodies  in  Canada  upon  the  Bill,  and  in  fact  before 
they  had  met  and  discussed  it. 

Much  of  the  Bill  against  which  I  have  objected  seems  now 
to  have  been  given  up,  but  it  is  satisfactory  for  me  to  show 
that  I  was  correct  in  my  opinion  that  those  parts  of  the  Bill 
would  not  be  approved  in  the  Colonies  by  any  party. 

The  words  above,  "  seems  now  to  have  been  given 
up,"  mean  given  up  at  the  date  of  this  entry  in  his 
Journal,  i.e.  20th  .January  1840.  The  Legislature  in 
Canada  discussed  the  Bill  in  December  1839,  and 
"  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill "  was  published  in 
England  in  January  1840.  It  was  not  certain,  of 
course-,  what  would  be  the  future  of  the  Bill,  which 
had  been  temporarily  withdrawn,  but  Mr.  Poulett- 
Thompson  had  expressed  his  intention  to  recommend 
to  the  Imperial  Government  not  to  press  certain  of 
those  provisions  to  which  my  father  had  objected. 

Lord  Durham's  report — a  blue-book  with  appen- 
dices of  690  folio  pages — was  a  very  exhaustive  one, 

1  This  paper  was  printed  under  the  title  of  "  Canada  and  the  Canada 
Bill." 


242    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

and  my  father's  letters  to  the  Secretary  of  State, 
commenting  upon  its  statements  and  suggestions, 
constitute  themselves  reports  of  some  length. 

In  his  first  letter  of  23rd  February  1839  he  dis- 
cussed the  measures  advocated  by  Lord  Durham, 
and  the  grounds  and  evidence  upon  which  they  had 
been  apparently  based. 

In  his  letter  of  9th  March  he  gave  his  own  sug- 
gestions— as  he  had  been  desired  officially  to  do— 
for  the  future  government  of  Canada,  and  in  that  of 
29th  March  explained  the  measures  which,  in  his 
opinion,  would  most  conduce  to  the  security  of  the 
country,  and  to  restoring  confidence  in  its  financial 
stability  and  future  prosperity. 

I  have  already  mentioned  (in  Chapter  III.)  some  of 
the  defensive  measures  which  he  advocated  in  his 
letter  of  29th  March  1839,  and  it  would  be  tedious, 
and  is  needless  for  me,  to  enter  at  this  point  into 
details  of  the  Durham  report,  and  my  father's  reply 
to  it  in  the  letters  above  alluded  to,  because  one  of 
the  most  important  results  of  that  report  was  the 
Union  Bill  of  20th  June  1839,  largely  based  upon  it, 
and  the  provisions  of  which  were  examined  and  com- 
mented upon  by  my  father  in  "  Canada  and  the  Canada 
Bill,"  to  which  I  shall  particularly  refer  further  on. 

It  should  be  explained  that  the  Durham  report, 
as  far  as  Upper  Canada  was  concerned,  was  not 
based  upon  Lord  Durham's  personal  acquaintance 
with  that  part  of  the  country.  He  had  been  but 
eleven  days  passing  through  Upper  Canada,  of  which 
five  had  been  spent  in  travelling,  one  in  Toronto, 
and  the  remainder  at  the  Falls  of  Niagara. 

This  portion  of  the  report  necessarily  rested  upon 
information  supplied  by  others,  and  the  correctness  of 


ix     DURHAM    REPORT— UNION    HILL     i>  w 

some  of  this,  and  of  the  deductions  drawn   from  it, 
my  father  disputed. 

Apart  from  its  general  recommendations,  and 
while  fully  admitting  the  ability  with  which  the  re- 
port was  drawn  up,  he  considered  it,  especially  with 
respect  to  Upper  Canada  and  its  strictures  upon  the 
conduct  of  public  matters  there,  to  be  in  many  points 
incorrect  and  misleading. 

It  is  singular  with  respect  to  a  State  document  so 
important  politically  and  historically  as  this  has  been, 
that  it  is  doubtful  to  the  present  day  who  really 
inspired  those  portions  of  it  which  related  to  Upper 
Canada,  and  that  it  seems  clear  that  up  to  the  eve  of 
his  departure  for  England,  Lord  Durham  himself  was 
strongly  opposed  to  the  union  of  the  Canadas,  which 
he  advocated  in  it. 

No  one  denies,  writes  Mr.  Bradshaw,1  a  warm 
appreciator  of  the  services  of  Lord  Durham,  that  the 
latter  had  consistently  opposed,  during  the  whole  of 
his  stay  in  Canada,  the  proposed  union  of  the  pro- 
vinces ;  and  on  2nd  October  1838,  one  month  before 
he  sailed  for  England,  the  Earl  wrote  thus  to  Major 
Richardson : 2- 

I)i  AK  SIR, — I  thank  you  kindly  for  your  account  of  the 
meeting  (got  up  in  favour  of  the  union  in  Montreal),  which 
was  the  first  1  received.  I  fully  expected  the  "outbreak" 
about  the  union  of  the  two  provinces.  It  is  a  pet  Montreal 
project,  beginning  and  ending  in  Montreal  selfishness. — Yours 
truly,  DURHAM. 

Sir  Allan  MacNab  also  wrote  to  Sir  Francis 
Head  some  years  afterwards  : 2 — 

1  "  Self-Government  in  Canada,"  by  F.  Bradshaw  (1908),  p.  250. 

3  "The  Emigrant,"  by  Sir  F.  B.  Head,  pp.  378  an.l  376,  Major 
Richardson  was  author  of  a  "  History  of  the  War  of  1812-15  "  (see  p.  42), 
and  was  then  acting  as  correspondent  of  the  Times  in  Canada. 


244    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY, 

MONTREAL,  28th  March  1846. 

MY  DEAR  SIR  FRANCIS,  —  I  have  no  hesitation  in  putting  on 
paper  the  conversation  which  took  place  between  Lord  Durham 
and  myself  on  the  subject  of  the  union.  He  asked  me  if  I  was 
in  favour  of  the  union.  I  said  "  No."  He  replied,  "  If  you 
are  a  friend  to  your  country  oppose  it  to  the  death."  —  I  am, 
&c.,  ALLAN 


Mr.  Bradshaw1  discusses  whether  Buller  or 
Turton,  or  Wakefield,  who  were  all  associated  with 
Lord  Durham,  wrote  certain  parts  of  the  report,  and 
with  regard  to  that  portion  of  it  relating  to  Upper 
Canada,  says  :— 

It  is  unfortunate  that  Lord  Durham  himself  did  not  stay 
long  in  Upper  Canada,  for  he  would  probably  have  left  a  truer 
picture. 

And  again  — 

A  sketch  of  the  political  history  of  Upper  Canada  is  then 
given  in  the  report,  but  it  cannot  be  said  that  it  possesses 
anything  like  the  value  of  that  in  the  previous  section  (i.e.  on 
Lower  Canada).  .  .  . 

It  is  an  unpleasant  feature  in  this  section  of  the  report  (on 
Upper  Canada)  that  such  charges  are  made  without  any 
evidence  to  substantiate  them. 

What  I  have  mentioned  above  is  of  little  public 
consequence.  Lord  Durham  signed  the  report,  and 
therefore  accepted  it  and  made  it  his  own,  and  he 
was  right  to  change  the  views  which  he  had  held 
three  months  previously,  if  convinced  that  they  were 
wrong.2  I  allude  to  it,  though,  to  show  that  my 
father  had  apparently  good  ground  both  to  be  sur- 

1  "  Self-Government  in  Canada,"  by  F.  Bradshaw,  pp.  275-284. 

2  Lord  Durham,  having  been  in  ill-health  for  some  time,  died  28th 
July  1840,  shortly  after  the  passing  of  the  Union  Act.    What  the  grounds 
for  his  change  of  opinion  were  are  possibly  less  known  on  this  account. 


ix    DURHAM  REPORT— UNION   KILL     245 

prised  at  the  tenor  of  the  report,  and  also  to  repudiate 
much  that  was  written  in  it,  especially  regarding  the 
particular  province  with  which  lie  had  heen  so  long 
himself  officially  connected. 

I  wish  (he  wrote  to  the  Secretary  of  State)  your  Lordship 
to  understand  that  I  am  able  to  speak  to  most,  if  not  all,  of  the 
matters  adverted  to  in  this  report,  and  that  I  am  now  ready  to 
show  at  any  time,  and  in  any  place,  that  MR-  ivport,  in  most  of 
what  relates  to  Upper  Canada,  is  utterly  unsafe  to  be  relied  upon 
as  a  matter  of  information  by  Government  or  by  Parliament. 

One  point  which  in  his  letter  of  29th  March  he 
laid  stress  upon  as  essential  to  produce  confidence 
abroad  in  the  financial  stability  and  industrial  future 
of  Canada,  was  that  the  Mother  Country  should 
show  clearly  its  determination  to  maintain  its  con- 
nection with  the  colony. 

It  had  been  urged  by  some  that  the  difficulty  of 
defending  Canada  was  so  great  that  the  idea  of  doing 
so  must  he  given  up  as  impracticable. 

Alluding  to  this  in  his  letter,  he  says : — 

Canada  cannot  be  abandoned,  and  never  will  be  while 
England  is  a  nation ;  and  surely  sound  policy  and  good 
economy  is  to  look  the  true  state  of  things  fairly  in  the  face. 

Let  it  be  supposed  that  any  Power  in  Europe  should  take 
a  fancy  to  the  most  barren  of  the  Orkney  Islands,  or  of  the 
rocks  of  Scilly,  would  not  Great  Britain  put  forth,  if  it  were 
necessary,  the  whole  of  her  strength  to  defend  it?  Canada 
must  be  defended  from  a  sense  of  the  national  honour,  just 
as  an  individual  protects  his  property,  at  the  peril  of  his  life, 
against  a  small  encroachment  as  well  as  a  large  one.  Nation-. 
like  individuals,  if  they  would  be  respected,  must  know  no 
other  rule. 

But  happily  there  is  much  to  cheer  the  British  nation  in 
their  resolution  to  defend  these  Colonies.  Their  present  value 
is  great,  their  prospective  importance  to  the  Empire  can 


246    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

scarcely    be   estimated.     Their   growth  in  power  and    wealth 
is  certain  and  inevitable. 

That  they  can  be  defended  there  is  no  reason  to  question : 
there  is  indeed  no  ground  for  apprehending  their  loss,  so  long 
as  Great  Britain  retains  her  supremacy  on  the  ocean,  and  when 
that  shall  be  at  an  end,  what  will  become  of  her  other  colonies 
in  all  quarters  of  the  globe?  And  what  will  be  her  rank 
among  the  nations  ?  The  vital  question  with  her  is  the 
preservation  of  her  naval  superiority ;  and  from  those  who 
believe  that  an  Almighty  hand  rules  the  destinies  of  nations, 
it  calls  for  the  liveliest  feelings  of  gratitude  to  Providence, 
that  to  aid  her  in  maintaining  the  indispensable  condition  of 
her  greatness,  she  has  the  harbours,  the  fisheries,  the  commercial 
marine,  the  timber,  the  hemp,  the  coal,  which  these  colonies 
present,  or  may  be  made  to  yield. 

To  turn  now  particularly  to  my  father's  book, 
"  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill." 

In  the  introductory  letter  to  Lord  John  Russell, 
he  refers  to  the  reasons  which  influenced  him  in  pub- 
lishing it  :— 

Had  I  suppressed  the  public  declaration  of  my  sentiments 
at  so  critical  a  moment,  when  my  accidental  presence  in  England 
had  enabled  me  to  state  them  with  convenience,  and  possibly 
not  wholly  without  effect,  I  could  only  account  for  the  omission 
by  acknowledging  an  apprehension  that  by  openly  expressing 
my  opinions  upon  a  public  question,  however  respectfully,  I 
might  incur  the  displeasure  of  the  Government,  and  that  I  had 
therefore  been  silent ;  a  reason  which,  if  it  should  have  become 
necessary  to  give  it,  would  not  have  done  honour  to  the  Govern- 
ment, or  to  myself.  ...  I  shall  bear,  as  cheerfully  as  others,  my 
individual  share  of  whatever  consequences  may  flow  from  those 
measures  which  Parliament  shall  ultimately  adopt,  after  the 
question  has  been  presented,  in  all  its  aspects,  to  their  considera- 
tion ;  but  I  could  never  patiently  bear  the  reproach  which  I 
should  feel  I  deserved,  if,  at  such  a  moment,  I  refrained  from 
communicating  freely  to  others  the  apprehensions  which  I  now 
teel  so  strongly  myself. 


ix       CANADA— THE  CANADA    KILL,       247 

Probably  he  was  also  influenced  in  publishing  it 
by  another  reason,  viz.,  that  the  Legislative  Council 
of  Upper  Canada  had,  on  4th  April  1839,  passed  a 
resolution  adverse  to  the  union,  and  in  forwarding  it 
to  him  requested  him  to  bring  the  affairs  of  the 
province  under  the  notice  of  the  Crown,  and  "  gener- 
ally represent  the  interests  of  the  province." 

Commenting  on  the  course  he  took,  Mr.  Fennings 
Taylor,1  writing  in  1865,  says: — 

He  did  what  was  expected  of  him  and  he  did  it  well.  The 
practical  separation  which  has  since  taken  place  of  the  provinces 
whose  union  he  sought  to  avert,  should,  we  think,  be  accepted 
as  a  compliment  to  his  sagacity  and  foresight. 

By  this  Mr.  Taylor  probably  means  that  the  two 
provinces,  though  they  remained  officially  one  until 
the  Confederation  Act  of  1867,  had,  when  he  wrote, 
owing  to  divergent  aims  and  interests,  become  prac- 
tically two.  As  to  this  see  pp.  263-265  of  this 
book. 

"Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill"  was  a  pamphlet 
more  than  a  book — a  small  work  of  200  pages — and 
was,  as  we  have  said  before,  a  detailed  examination 
of  the  provisions  of  the  Union  Bill  of  20th  June  1839 
based  upon  the  Durham  report,  not  of  the  Bill  as 
it  became  an  Act  on  23rd  July  1840,  which  was 
freed  from  many  of  the  original  provisions  to  which 
both  my  father  and  the  Legislature  of  Canada  had 
alike  and  independently  objected. 

The  7V///c.v,  in  reviewing  the  pamphlet,  said  :— 

We  feel  warranted  in  saying,  though  without  absolutely 
committing  ourselves  to  the  opinions  of  the  author,  that  it 
contains  a  larger  stock  of  useful  and  authentic  information  in 

1  "  Portraits  of  British  Americans,"  by  Fennings  Taylor  (1865). 


248    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

regard  to  the  present  position,  wants,  and  prospects  of  that 
colony  than  any  other  production  on  the  same  subject  we  have 
happened  to  meet  with. 

The  Union  Bill,  upon  which  it  commented,  stated 
in  its  preamble  that,  in  order  to  provide  for  the 
future  good  government  of  Canada,  it  was  expedient 
that— 

(1)  The  provinces  of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada 

should  be  reunited  and  form  one  province 
for  the  purposes  of  executive  government 
and  legislation. 

(2)  That — for  the  protection  of  local  interests — 

this  province  should  be  divided  into  dis- 
tricts, each  with  a  District  Council. 

(3)  That  the  county  of  Gaspe  and  the  Magdalen 

Islands  (which  formed  part  of  Lower 
Canada)  should  be  annexed  to  New  Bruns- 
wick. 

The  various  clauses  of  the  Bill  provided  for  the 
manner  in  which  these  measures  were  to  be  carried 
out  in  detail,  and  were  of  course  framed  with  a  view 
to  facilitate  the  working  of  the  main  measure  of  the 
Bill— the  Union. 

In  order  to  understand  the  character  of  the  Bill, 
it  is  necessary  to  mention  that  there  were  to  be  five 
districts  in  United  Canada. 

Every  district,  in  addition  to  having  a  "  District 
Council,"  was  to  be  divided  into  nine  electoral 
divisions. 

The  districts  and  electoral  divisions  were  not  laid 
down  in  the  Bill,  but  were  left  to  be  afterwards 
formed  by  the  award  of  arbitrators,  subject  to  the 


ix  THE   UNION    BILL  340 

principle  that  the  number  of  electoral  divisions  should 
be  as  nearly  as  possible  equal  in  each  of  the  old 
provinces  of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada. 

Some  twenty  clauses  of  the  Bill  related  to  the 
formation  of  these  District  Councils,  to  which  much 
importance  was  attached,  as  extending  local  govern- 
ment. They  were  to  be  more  than  ordinary  muni- 
cipal bodies  managing  purely  local  concerns;  were, 
under  certain  restrictions,  to  be  entrusted  with  large 
powers  ;  and  were  to  be  in  some  sense  more  like 
district  parliaments  or  minor  legislatures,  subordinate 
to  the  Provincial  Legislature. 

They  were  to  be  permitted  to  pass  ordinances  for 
the  making  of  railways  and  canals,  \c.,  in  the  district, 
to  impose  tolls  on  local  works,  and  taxes  on  real  and 
personal  property,  in  order  to  raise  a  revenue  for  the 
salaries  of  district  officials,  and  to  meet  other  expenses 
connected  with  district  government,  while  none  of 
their  ordinances  were  to  be  valid  if  they  were  repug- 
nant to,  or  impeded,  the  operation  of  any  Act  of  the 
Provincial  Legislature. 

The  arbitrators  who  were  to  settle  the  division 
into  districts  were  to  lay  down  what  portion  of  the 
revenue  should  form  the  consolidated  revenue  of  the 
united  province,  and  what  be  devoted  to  local  pur- 
poses ;  also  to  determine  the  civil  list  and  how  it 
should  be  appropriated ;  none  of  which  important 
matters  were  settled  in  the  Bill  itself. 

The  constitution  of  the  Legislative  Council  (the 
Upper  House)  was  to  be  materially  changed,  power 
being  given  to  commit  to  the  Governor  of  the  pro- 
vince the  appointment  of  members,  which  had  before 
rested  with  the  Crown  ;  the  tenure  of  the  office  of 
legislative  councillor  was  to  be  limited  to  eight  years 


250    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

instead  of  being  for  life  ;  no  property  qualification  for 
members  was  laid  down  ;  the  old  title  of  "  Speaker  " 
of  the  Council  was  to  be  altered  to  "  President,"  and 
the  Colonial  Parliament  was  to  be  empowered  to 
pass  laws  respecting  the  time  and  place  of  holding 
sessions  of  the  Legislature,  its  prorogation  and 
dissolution,  which  had  hitherto  been  the  prerogative 
of  the  Crown. 

I  should  be  considered  tedious  were  I  to  enter 
here  at  greater  length  than  I  have  above  into  the  pro- 
visions of  the  Bill  of  1839,  apart  from  its  principal 
one — the  u  Union." 

All  those  which  I  have  mentioned  were  objected 
to  by  my  father,  and  have  now  comparatively  little 
interest,  because,  owing  to  the  representations  of 
others  as  well  as  his  remonstrances,  they  were  in 
great  part  withdrawn  ;  but,  at  the  time  the  Bill  was 
introduced,  some  were  of  much  importance,  as  upon 
their  working  the  success  or  failure  of  the  main 
measure  largely  depended. 

In  case  any  should,  however,  wish  to  know  the 
grounds  upon  which  my  father's  objections  were 
based,  I  have  given  several  of  these  (for  I  have  not 
room  for  all),  taken  from  "  Canada  and  the  Canada 
Bill"  in  the  Appendix  (A.,  v.). 

Any  one  caring  to  turn  to  the  Union  Act  of 
1840,  the  Bill  of  1839,  and  my  father's  views  ex- 
pressed  in  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill,"  will  see 
how  materially  the  Bill  of  1839,  apart  from  its  main 
principle  of  the  union,  was  modified  in  the  direction 
of  his  views  before  it  passed  into  law. 

In  all  from  twenty  to  thirty  alterations,  of  more 
than  a  mere  verbal  character,  urged  by  him  as  desir- 
able, in  the  sixty  odd  clauses  of  the  Bill,  were  intro- 


ix  THE   UNION    BILL  251 

duced  into  the  Act  of  1840  ;  and  several  omissions, 
to  which  he  had  drawn  attention,  were  inserted. 

The  new  districts,  district  Councils,  and  elec- 
toral divisions,  with  the  settlement  of  questions  by 
arbitration,  found  no  place  in  the  Act  of  1840. 

The  division  of  the  country  for  purposes  of 
representation  was  all  detailed  in  the  Act  itself. 

The  clause  empowering  the  delegation  to  the 
Governor  of  the  province  of  the  appointment  of 
legislative  councillors  was  altered;  the  tenure  of 
their  seats  was  made  for  life;  the  qualifications  to 
render  them  eligible  were  modified  ;  the  old  title  of 
"  Speaker  "  was  retained. 

A  small  qualification  in  real  estate  for  members 
of  both  Houses  was  laid  down. 

The  power  to  prorogue  and  dissolve  the  Legislature 
was  confined  to  the  Governor — not  vested  in  the 
1  .egislature. 

The  omissions  pointed  out  as  to  Courts  of  Appeal 
and  other  matters  were  supplied. 

»(ias]>e  was  not  detached  from  Lower  Canada,  and 
her  Majesty  was  empowered  to  annex  the  Magdalen 
Islands  to  the  Island  of  Prince  Edward. 

In  short,  of  the  three  measures  which  the  pre- 
amble to  the  Bill  stated  to  be  expedient  two  were 
altogether  abandoned. 

My  father  must  have  been  glad  to  see  that  the 
House  of  Assembly  in  Upper  Canada,  when  passing 
at  a  later  date  the  Union  Bill  of  1840,  recommended 
to  their  consideration  by  Mr.  Poulett-Thompson, 
accompanied  their  assent  to  the  measure  with  an 
address  to  the  Queen,  of  which  the  following  is  an 
extract :— 


252    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

It  is  with  the  most  sincere  satisfaction  that  this  House  has 
received  from  your  Majesty's  representative  the  assurance  that 
the  Bill  introduced  into  the  House  of  Commons  during  the 
last  session  of  the  Imperial  Legislature  (i.e.  in  1839),  is  not  to 
be  considered  as  embodying  the  provisions  which  may  hereafter 
be  adopted  by  the  Imperial  Parliament — and  that  it  is  his 
Excellency's  intention  to  recommend  to  her  Majesty's  Govern- 
ment, in  the  new  measure  that  must  be  introduced,  to  adhere 
as  much  as  possible  to  existing  territorial  divisions  for  electoral 
purposes,  and  to  maintain  the  principle  of  the  Constitutional 
Act  of  1791  with  regard  to  the  tenure  of  seats  in  the  Legislative 
Council  (i.e.  that  they  should  be  for  life).  We  further  respect- 
fully submit  the  necessity  of  providing  that  the  members  of 
the  Legislature  should  possess  a  stake  in  the  country  equal  to 
that  now  required  by  the  laws  of  this  province. 

With  regard  to  the  chief  measure  of  the  Bill  of 
1839,  viz.,  the  "  Union,"  which  he  unsuccessfully 
opposed,  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  problem  which 
it  was  hoped  to  solve — viz.,  the  provision  of  a  govern- 
ment under  the  supremacy  of  the  British  Crown 
which  would,  in  the  words  of  the  Bill,  "  best  secure 
the  rights  and  liberties  and  promote  the  interests 
of  all  classes" — was,  under  the  then  circumstances 
of  Canada,  an  exceptionally  difficult  one. 

Sir  Robert  Peel,  speaking  in  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, said,  "  I  defy  any  person,  with  a  full  considera- 
tion of  all  that  has  passed  in  Canada,  to  frame  a 
Government  which  shall  be  totally  free  from 
danger ;  "  and  it  was  very  uncertain  how  any  scheme 
which  had  a  practical  chance  of  acceptance  at  this 
period,  both  in  Canada  and  the  Imperial  Parlia- 
ment, would  succeed  in  attaining  the  objects  sought. 
"  Confederation  "  has  since  taken  the  place  of  the 
partial  union  of  1840  (i.e.  of  the  two  provinces  of 
Canada  only),  and  so  there  is  no  ground  to  regret 


ix  THE    r\I()\     HILL  253 

that  the  latter  union  was  first  adopted  ;  but  in  the 
scheme  of  uniting  English  and  French  Canada  alone, 
without  including  the  other  North  American  Pro- 
vinces, grave  difficulties  and  risks  were  involved, 
which  made  its  safety  and  success  most  doubtful. 

In  addition  to  that  of  linking  together  two  pro- 
vinces in  which  the  mass  of  the  people  differed  in 
language,  laws,  and  religion,  and  whose  antagonisms, 
prejudices,  and  jealousies  had  been  embittered  by  the 
recent  events  of  the  Rebellion,  there  was  the  necessity 
of  securing  in  the  Legislature  of  the  united  province 
British  ascendency  and  loyalty  to  the  Crown  ;  in 
other  words,  that  the  Assembly  returned  to  represent 
the  united  provinces  should  not  be  so  composed  as  to 
endanger  British  interests  in  a  British  colony. 

Both  those  who  supported  the  Union  Bill  and 
those  who  opposed  it  were  equally  decided  upon  this 
head. 

Lord  Durham,  in  his  report,  uses  these  words : — 

It  must  henceforth  be  the  first  and  steady  purpose  of  the 
British  Government  to  establish  an  English  population  with 
English  laws  and  language  in  this  (the  Lower)  province,  and  to 
trust  its  government  to  none  but  a  decidedly  English  legis- 
lature. 

It  has  been  aptly  written  by  a  well-known  pen  :— 

Lord  Durham's  policy  for  French  nationality  was  extinction. 
This,  he  fancied,  would  be  accomplished  by  the  union  of  the 
provinces,  which  would  bring  the  weaker  race  under  the  direct 
pressure  of  the  stronger.  He  did  not  calculate  on  party 
divisions  in  the  stronger  race,  which  gave  the  key  to  the  popular 
situation  in  the  Quebec  vote.1 

1  Article  by  "Bystander"  in  the  Toronto  Wrrkly  ,S//W,  l!»th  September 
1900, 


254    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

But  in  my  father's  opinion  it  was  by  no  means 
the  French  Canadians  alone  who  had  been  the 
originators  of  the  troubles  of  Canada. 

For  my  own  part,  he  says  (alluding  to  a  passage  in  Lord 
Durham's  report),  I  think  that  their  assumed  settled  bitter 
and  permanent  hostility  to  their  British  fellow-subjects  has 
been  too  much  dwelt  upon  as  the  inevitable  consequence  of  the 
difference  of  races.  I  believe  that  for  years  and  years  after  the 
conquest,  hatred  of  their  fellow-subjects,  and  of  their  govern- 
ment, was  not  an  active  or  settled  principle  in  the  minds  of  the 
Canadian  peasantry. 

The  French  Canadian  leaders  were  not  the  only  agents  in 
producing  these  troubles.  They  had  able  assistants  and 
instructors,  neither  did  they  succeed  without  great  difficulty, 
nor  until  a  long  course  of  persevering  agitation. 

He  thought  that  they  would  never  have  suc- 
ceeded at  all, 

had  the  Government  in  England  shown  that  firmness,  without 
which  no  Government  will  ever  have  credit  with  the  ignorant 
and  the  prejudiced  for  believing  itself  to  be  in  the  right. 

In  his  view  the  danger  to  the  future  tranquillity 
of  Canada  lay  fully  as  much  in  politicians  of  British 
origin  joining  for  political  purposes  with  French 
malcontents ;  and  that  it  was  therefore  essential  to 
provide  a  Legislature  for  the  united  province  in  which 
British  influence  should  be  so  dominant  as  to  make 
it  hardly  possible  that  any  unreasonable  British 
minority  should  attain  to  power  by  the  aid  of  the 
French  vote. 

There  were  very  divergent  opinions  as  to  the  way 
in  which  the  desired  British  influence  could  be  best 


ix     VIEWS  AS  TO  CONFEDERATION     25fl 

secured.  Many  who  were  in  favour  of  the  union  of 
the  two  provinces  of  Canada,  and  saw  no  dan^vr 
in  that,  were  opposed  to  the  further  extension  of  the 
union  so  as  to  include  all  the  British  North  Ameri- 
can Provinces. 

Thus  we  find  Sir  \Vilinot  Horton,  in  1839,1  quot- 
ing as  follows  from  the  Montreal  Gazette,  to  show  that 
opinion  in  Canada  was  opposed  to  such  an  extension  : — 

At  a  public  meeting  held  here  (Montreal),  the  comparative 
merits  of  both  unions  (i.e.  of  the  two  Canadas  only  and  of  all 
the  North  American  Colonies)  were  placed  in  the  balance.  .  .  . 

There  was  not  a  member  of  the  meeting  who  had  one  word 
to  say  in  its  (the  federal  scheme's)  favour. 

Nature,  reason,  and  experience  are  totally  adverse  to 
idea  of  Mich  a  scheme. 

At  this  meeting  Mr.  Day,  Q.C.,  >aid  :  "  A  confederation  of 
the  provinces  is  a  useless  piece  of  machinery — the  confedera- 
tion could  not  exist  for  ten  years  without  a  separation  from 
the  parent  State  taking  place." 

And  Mr.  Henry  Bliss,  Q.C.,  writes  thus  in 
England:* 

\Vhat  would  be  the  powers,  what  the  object  of  a  federa- 
tive Legislature  in  those  Colonies — the  proposal  has  no  friends 
or  supporters  in  any  quarter  of  the  Colonies.  It  is  deprecated 

an  utter  mistake,  at  variance  with  their  wants  and  wishes, 
inconsistent  with  their  relations  to  each  other  and  to  the  parent 
kingdom,  and  involving  repugnances  and  embarrassments  fatal 
to  any  practical  purpose. 

It  is  very  striking,  indeed,  in  reading  the  history 
of  these  times,  to  see  how  many  there  were — possibly 

1  "Exposition  and   Defence  of  Earl   Bathurst's  Administration,  and 
Thoughts  on  the  Present  Crisis  in  the  Canadas,"  2nd  edition  (1839). 

2  "  F.s-ay  on  the  Reconstruction   of  Her   Majesty's  Government  in 
Canada."  hy  Henry  Bliss,  Q.C.,  of  the  Inner  Temple  (1839). 


256    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

from  having  before  their  mind  the  history  of  the 
British  Colonies  which  subsequently  rebelled  and  be- 
came the  United  States,  and  the  Rebellion  of  1837- 
1838 — who  looked  upon  a  separation  of  all  Colonies 
from  the  Mother  Country  as  merely  a  matter  of  time, 
and  upon  their  federation  as  only  hastening  that  time. 

There  were  others,  however,  and  among  them 
Lord  Durham  himself,  who  were  not  insensible  to 
the  advantage  of  a  union  of  all  the  provinces,  but 
considered  it  impracticable  or  undesirable  at  the 
moment. 

In  his  report,  Lord  Durham  says  :— 

While  I  convince  myself  that  such  desirable  ends  (removing 
the  troubles  of  Canada)  would  be  secured  by  the  legislative 
union  of  the  two  provinces  (alone),  I  am  inclined  to  go  further 
and  inquire  whether  all  these  objects  could  not  be  more  surely 
attained  by  extending  this  legislative  union  over  all  the  British 
provinces  in  North  America. 

He  considered,  however,  that  circumstances 
would  not  then  admit  of  such  a  union,  and  that 
other  measures  must  be  taken  without  delay.  He 
therefore  recommended  that  the  union  of  the  two 
Canadas  alone,  under  one  Legislature  and  as  one 
Province,  should  be  at  once  carried  out. 

Lord  Durham  explains  that  the  union  he  had  in 
view  was  a  "  legislative  union,"  i.e.  the  complete 
incorporation  of  the  provinces  under  one  Legislature 
exercising  all  powers  of  legislation  throughout  (as 
in  the  case  of  the  British  Isles)  ;  not  a  federal 
union,  such  as  the  present  Dominion,  where  the 
Federal  Legislature  exercises  power  in  matters  of 
general  concern,  but  the  Provincial  Legislatures  in 
matters  of  purely  provincial  and  local  concern. 


ix      VIEWS  AS  TO  CONFEDERATION 

My  father  was  not  entirely  in  agreement  with 
either  of  the  above  opposing  views. 

He  looked  upon  a  confederation  of  all  the  British- 
American  Provinces,  with  the  enlargement  of  British 
influence  and  ascendency  in  the  Government  which 
it  would  necessarily  bring  with  it,  as  the  best 
remedy  for  the  troubles  of  Canada,  and  a  far  more 
effective  one  than  the  union  of  Upper  and  Lower 
Canada  only. 

He  had  no  fears  that  this  would  endanger  British 
connection,  but  held  that  it  would  strengthen  it.1 
He  did  not  concur  with  Lord  Durham  in  his  con- 
viction that  the  end  desired  "would  be  secured 
by  the  union  of  the  two  provinces"  merely;  antici- 
pating that  this  partial  union  would  lead  to  a  situa- 
tion under  which  the  government  of  the  country, 
consistently  with  British  interests,  could  not  be 
carried  on. 

The  union  he  wished  to  see  was  (to  quote  his 
own  words)  •  • 

A  confederacy  of  provinces,  erected  into  a  kingdom,3  and 
under  the  government  of  a  Viceroy,  the  executive 
government  and  local  legislatures  of  the  different  provinces 
remaining  as  they  are,  except  that  the  functions  of  the  latter 
would  be  necessarily  confined  to  objects  purely  local. 

In  the  following  passage  in  "  Canada  and  the 
Canada  Bill"  he  clearly  states  what  he  anticipated 

Mis  remarks  on  this  subject  in  1822  (chap.  vi.). 

2  Letter  to  Lord  Batliurst,  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies  (l: 
subsequently  published.     (See  chap,  vi.') 

3  It  is  interesting  to   read    in  the   Life  of  Sir  John   Macdonald,  by 
Mr.  Joseph    Pope,  how  desirous  he  was  that  the  new  Confederation  in 
1867  should  be  styled  the  "Kingdom  of  Canada."     That  it  was  not  so 
he  considered  ••  a  threat  opportunity  missed"  towards  hastening  Imperial 
federation  throughout  the  British  dominions. 

B 


258    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

would  be  the  effect  of  uniting  Upper  and  Lower 
Canada  alone : — 

I  greatly  apprehend  (whatever  advantages  might  be  reason- 
ably expected  from  a  legislative  union  of  the  four  North 
American  Colonies,  if  that  were  found  practicable,  and  con- 
sidering the  character  of  the  population  of  Nova  Scotia  and 
New  Brunswick)  that  the  effect  of  uniting  the  two  provinces  of 
Canada  only  will  be  to  create  a  representative  assembly  such 
as  the  Government  will  be  unable  to  withstand,  except  by 
measures  which  it  is  painful  to  anticipate ;  that  it  may,  at 
the  very  outset,  and  will  certainly  at  no  distant  period,  give 
existence  to  a  representative  body  in  which  the  majority  will 
not  merely  be  opposed  in  the  common  spirit  of  party  to  any 
colonial  governor  who  shall  not  be  unfaithful  to  his  trust,  but 
a  majority  which  would  be  held  together  by  a  common  desire 
to  separate  the  colony  from  the  Crown — a  party,  consequently, 
whom  it  will  be  impossible  to  conciliate  by  any  concession 
within  the  bounds  of  right.  ...  If  the  two  provinces  be 
united  I  fear  that  we  shall  see  jealousy,  rivalry,  and  national 
antipathy  working  their  mischief  through  a  wider  range.  In 
times  of  political  excitement  we  should  have  opposition  to  the 
Government  producing  the  same  troubles  and  embarrassments 
to  both  provinces,  and,  at  length,  concessions  which  would 
prove  ruinous  to  both. 

He  writes  thus  also  with  respect  to  the  proposed 
measure  :— 

It  is  well  known  that  this  (the  union  of  Upper  and  Lower 
Canada  only)  is  not  altogether  a  new  project. 

The  idea  of  giving  but  one  Legislature  to  the  two  provinces 
of  Canada  was  seriously  entertained  in  1822,  when  the  present 
Sir  Wilmot  Horton,  then  Under-Secretary  of  State  for  the 
Colonies,  brought  in  a  bill  for  that  purpose. 

It  may  probably  be  remarked  that  the  intended  measure, 
being  abandoned  and  not  carried,  the  result  has  been  a  re- 
bellion in  both  provinces ;  but  the  answer  is  not  less  obvious. 
It  is  true  that  there  has  been  a  formidable  rebellion  in  Lower 


m\ 


ix          UNION    OF   CAN  AD  AS   ONLY         259 

Canada,  but  not  because  the  Government  failed  to  apply  the 
suggested  remedy  of  the  union  ;  the  security  against  siu-li  a 
misfortune  lay  in  measures  of  another  kind,  much  more  easy 
of  adoption,  and  much  more  certain  in  their  effect.1  It  is  true 
also  that  there  was  a  rebellion  in  Upper  Canada ;  but  it  was 
a  movement  contrived  and  conducted  by  those  very  persons 
whom  a  union  would  most  probably  have  placed  in  the  United 
Assembly. 

In  1822  I  did,  at  the  request  of  the  Colonial  Department, 
express  at  some  length  my  opinions  upon  a  plan  which  many 
years  before  had  been  suggested  from  another  quarter,  and  I 
ventured  to  add  some  propositions  of  my  own. 

I  thought  that  I  saw  certain  advantages  in  such  a  policy, 
and  I  believed  then,  as  I  still  believe,  that  there  was  little  in 
the  apprehensions  which  ni.-mv  entertained  that  such  a  union 
would  enable  and  dispose  the  Colonies  to  combine  together  in 
opposition  to  the  Mother  Country. 

That  I  think  is  forbidden  by  their  relative  geographical 
position,  and  there  are  other  reasons  which  satisfy  me  that 
the  fear  need  not  be  entertained. 

My  father  did  not  think  that  the  provision  in  the 
Union  Bill,  giving  an  equal  number  of  representatives 
in  the  joint  Legislature  to  each  of  the  old  provinces 
of  Upper  and  Lower  Canada,  would  suffice  to  fully 
secure  British  interests. 

His  opinion  in  1822  (see  chap,  vi.)  had  heen 
that  were  the  proposal  for  a  confederation  of  the 
British-American  Provinces  put  fully  before  the 
people  (which  he  contended  it  never  had  been),  it 
would  be  favourably  received  ;  in  short,  that  it  merely 
wanted  a  full  discussion. 

But  now  (in  1839)  the  state  of  the  Canadas,  con- 
sequent upon  the  Rebellion,  had  caused  many  in  the 

1  My  father  here  and  in  the  next  few  paragraph-  alludes  to  his  advocacy 
of  the  confederation  of  all  the  provinces  in  l»JL'.  He  then  also  opposed 
the  partial  union.  (See  chap,  vi.) 


260    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

other  provinces  to  be  disinclined  to  join  them,  and 
this  being  the  case,  my  father  advocated,  as  preferable 
to  a  union  of  the  two  Canadas  alone,  an  alteration 
of  the  boundary  line  between  the  Upper  and  Lower 
Province. 

Kingsford,  in  his  "  History  of  Canada,"  (vol.  x. 
p.  200)  referring  to  the  various  propositions  as  to  the 
union  brought  forward  in  1839,  says  : — 

The  propositions  of  Sir  John  Beverley  Robinson,  and  the 
men  he  represented,  foreshadowed  confederation.  .  .  .  The 
proposal  was  to  unite  the  four  provinces  for  the  purposes  of 
general  legislation  only,  leaving  them  in  other  respects  as 
they  were,  retaining  their  Legislatures  and  distinct  autonomy 
— the  plan  ultimately  adopted  in  the  present  constitution. 

These  propositions  Mr.  Kingsford,  speaking  of 
those  of  my  father  and  others  as  a  whole,  regards  as 
having  been  unjust  to  Lower  Canada,  no  doubt  on 
account  of  the  suggested  alteration  of  the  boundary 
line. 

But  my  father,  whatever  may  have  been  the 
propositions  of  others,  did  not  propose  any  alteration 
of  boundary  in  the  event  of  confederation. 

It  was  not  to  a  federation  of  all  the  provinces, 
which  he  had  always  and  earnestly  advocated,  but 
solely  to  the  union  of  the  two  Canadas  alone  that 
my  father  preferred  it. 

He  proposed  that,  in  lieu  of  running  the  risks 
which  he  believed  would  be  incurred  in  the  more 
partial  union,  the  boundary  line  should  be  altered. 
To  quote  his  own  words — 

So  as  to  embrace  the  Island  of  Montreal  with  some  of  the 
territory  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  St.  Lawrence  and  all 
the  lands  on  the  south-west  side  of  the  Ottawa ;  to  make  the 


ix          UNION   OF   CANADAS   ONLY         2C1 

added  territory  a  new  county  of  Upper  ('aimda,  giving  it  in 
all  respect*  the  same  laws,  and  providing  tor  it.s  representation 
in  the  Assembly  upon  a  just  scale  as  compared  with  the  other 
of  Upper  Canada — leaving  the  rest  of  Lower  Canada, 
with  or  without  Gaspc  as  mav  be  thought  best,  to  be  governed 
as  at  present,  for  a  limited  time,  not  less  than  ten  years,  but 
under  an  amended  constitution  as  regards  the  composition, 
proceedings,  and  powers  of  the  special  Council ; 

Or,  after  annexing  Montreal  and  the  contiguous  territory 
to  Upper  Canada,  as  above  proposed,  to  restore  to  Lower 
Canada  its  Assembly  and  Legislative  Council  so  soon  as  tran- 
quillitv  shall  have  been  perfectly  re-established,  and  an  adequate 
civil  list  been  provided  for  the  support  of  the  Government. 

And  (he  continues)  :— 

It  is  but  just  to  remember  that  Upper  Canada  was  made 
a  separate  colony  in  order  that  tho>e  who  might  choose  to 
settle  in  it  might  be  free  from  anything  which  might  appeal- 
unfavourable  to  their  welfare  in  the  laws  or  condition  of  the 
other  province. 

It  is  deeplv  to  be  regretted  that,  for  the  purpose  of  including 
in  Lower  Canada  the  whole  of  the  French  population,  the  line 
of  division  was  (in  1791)  carried  up  the-  river  St.  Lawrence 
to  that  point  where  the  English  settlements  commenced — or 
about  sixty  miles  above  Montreal,  to  which  town  and  no 
farther  the  St.  Lawrence  is  navigable  for  ships — thus  excluding 
Upper  Canada  from  the  free  enjoyment  of  a  seaport. 

But  I  cannot  see  with  what  justice  those  who  administered 
the  government  of  this  country  in  1791  can  be  said  to  have 
acted  unwisely  in  having  divided  that  immense  province.1 

The  two  provinces  united  would  form  a  territory  much  too 
large  to  be  conveniently  and  safely  ruled  by  one  executive 
Government. 

Would  it  have  been  a  wise,  a  safe,  or  a  justifiable  remedy 

1  This  division  he  considered  a  necessity  under  the  circumstances  of 
that  day,  and  gives  his  reasons  at  length  for  that  opinion.  His  arguments 
applied  with  comparatively  greater  force  in  183!)  than  they  do  now,  when 
railways,  steam,  and  the  telegraph  have  made  communication  much  easier 
—but  they  still  apply. 


262    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

to  have  proposed  for  the  troubled  state  of  Ireland  in  1796 
that  it  should  be  united  with  Scotland  alone,  and  one  Legis- 
lature given  to  the  two  kingdoms,  with  the  right  of  almost 
universal  suffrage?  I  think  the  people  of  Scotland  would 
have  had  the  sagacity  to  perceive  that  they  were  being  made 
rather  an  unfair  use  of. 

In  the  case  of  the  union  with  Ireland,  the  laws  of  that 
country  did  not  lose  the  support  nor  its  inhabitants  the 
convenience  of  an  executive  Government  easily  accessible — 
and  even  in  the  case  of  Scotland  the  same  thing  may  be  said. 
Though  its  individuality  was  not  preserved,  Scotland  is  still 
Scotland. 

It  exists  as  a  separate  country ;  but  the  effect  of  this  Bill 
would  be  to  confound  all  distinction  of  territory,  and  to  make 
the  whole  of  Canada  one  province  under  one  Government. 

I  conclude  here  my  quotations  from  "  Canada 
and  the  Canada  Bill."  Whether  an  alteration  of  the 
boundary  line  between  the  two  Canadas — a  measure 
which  also  had  its  drawbacks — would  have  answered 
as  well  as,  or  better  than,  the  partial  union  did, 
must  always  remain  a  matter  of  opinion,  for  the 
expedient  was  never  tried ;  but  what  my  father  was 
convinced  of  was  that  it  would  be  impracticable 
to  keep  the  two  Canadas  united  and  carry  on  the 
Government  consistently  with  British  interests,  with- 
out that  incorporation  of  the  other  British  provinces 
which  was  not  then  acceptable. 

The  Law  Journal  of  Upper  Canada,  adverting 
to  the  part  taken  by  him  in  publishing  "  Canada  and 
the  Canada  Bill,"  says  :- 

The  independent  spirit  and  true  patriotism  evinced  by  Sir 
John  Robinson  upon  this  occasion  is  entitled  to  the  greatest 
praise.  By  the  manner  in  which  he  wrote  he  placed  himself 
in  direct  antagonism  to  the  views  of  the  Governor  and  his 
advisers. 


ix  EFFECT   OF   THE    I'NION 

Four  years  after  the  passing  of  the  Union  Ac 
1840,  my  father  wrote  to  Sir  Charles  Metcalfe:— 

\Uh  Mnrrf,   l»44. 

I  have  been  told  that  your  Excellency  desired  to  .see  the 
observations  made  by  me  upon  the  projected  union  of  tin- 
Canadas.  I  did  intend  to  have  sent  it 1  before,  but  I  thought 
it  not  very  probable  that  you  would  find  time  to  give  it  a 
perusal. 

The  Hill  commented  upon,  as  your  Excellency  will  perceive, 
was  that  presented  by  Lord  J.  Russell  in  18:$!),  and  printed 
by  order  of  the  House  of  Commons. 

When  the  measure  \\a>  presented  again  in  1840,  the  Hill 
was  altered  in  very  many  of  the  particulars  upon  which  I  had 
remarked,  so  that  much  said  by  me  in  this  little  book  is  not 
applicable  to  the  details  of  the  present  Act — though  it  may 
have  had  some  effect  in  making  the  Union  Act  what  it  now  is. 

My  distrust  of  the  measure,  I  confess,  continues,  and  most 
heartily  glad  I  shall  be  if,  after  five  years  more  have  elapx-d. 
any  one  who  has  found  a  stray  copy  of  my  pamphlet  shall 
be  able  to  conclude  satisfactorily  that  my  worst  apprehensions 
were  groundless. 

To  show  that  these  apprehensions  were  not  ground- 
less, but  that  serious  dangers  and  embarrassments 
occurred  under  the  Government  created  by  the 
union,  I  may,  I  think,  appeal  to  history.  More 
than  one  writer  upon  Canadian  subjects  has  alluded 
to  these.  I  quote  the  following  from  Mr.  John 
Dent's  "Canada  since  the  Union  of  1841,"  vol.  ii. 
p.  439,  referring  to  the  year  1864  : — 

Public  affairs  were  literally  at  a  deadlock.  Both  parties 
had  tried  in  vain  to  carry  on  the  government  of  the  country. 
Successive  dissolutions  and  elections  had  served  no  purpose 
except  to  intensify  the  spirit  of  faction,  and  to  array  the 
contending  parties  more  bitterly  against  each  other.  The 

1  AlluiU's  to  "Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill,"  containing  these 
observations. 


264    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

state   of  affairs  seemed    hopeless,  for  the  Constitution    itself 
was  manifestly  unequal  to  the  task  imposed  upon  it. 

I  will  also  add  extracts  from  another  historian, 
Mr.  MacMullen.1  He  says,  speaking  of  the  excite- 
ment attending  the  debates  upon  the  Rebellion  Losses 
Bill  (1849),  which  preceded  the  riots  and  burning 
of  the  Houses  of  Parliament  in  Montreal— 

To  escape  from  French  domination,  as  it  was  termed,  the 
more  violent  Tory  members  of  the  Conservative  party  declared 
that  they  were  prepared  to  go  any  lengths — even  to  annexation 
with  the  United  States,  a  measure  which  in  the  passionate 
excitement  of  the  moment  was  openly  advocated.  It  was  a 
rash  proceeding,  and  forms  a  mortifying  epoch  in  the  history  of 
Canadian  parties. 

Again,  alluding  to  the  year  1859,  Mr.  MacMullen 
says  : — 

In  November  a  great  gathering  of  the  leaders  of  the  Reform 
party  took  place  at  Toronto. 

The  conclusion  was  arrived  at  that  the  union  of  Upper  and 
Lower  Canada  had  failed  to  realise  the  intentions  of  its  pro- 
moters, that  the  constitution  itself  was  defective,  and  that  the 
formation  of  two  or  more  local  Governments  with  some  joint 
authority  over  all  had  now  become  a  paramount  necessity. 

Again,  describing  the  absolute  deadlock  which 
occurred  in  the  working  of  the  Government  in  1864, 

he  says  :— 

Faction  had  now  literally  exhausted  itself.  The  public 
affairs  of  the  country  were  completely  at  a  standstill,  and  for 
the  moment  it  seemed  as  if  constitutional  government  had 
finally  ended  in  a  total  failure. 

Repeated  changes  of  Cabinets  had  been  tried,  dissolutions 
of  Parliament  had  been  resorted  to,  every  constitutional  specific 

1  MacMullen's  "  History  of  Canada,"  pp.  506-507,  549,  570-571,  589. 


, 


ix  EFFECT   OF   THE   UNION  265 

had  been  tested,  but  all  alike  had  failed  to  unravel  the  Gordian 
knot  which  party  spirit  had  tied  >o  firmly  round  the  destinies 
of  this  province. 

The  public  stood  aghast  at  this  state  of  things,  while  the 
lovers  of  British  constitutional  government  regarded  the 
extraordinary  situation  with  unlimited  dismay.  .  .  .  The 
leading  minds  of  the  country  naturally  applied  themselvt 
this  juncture  to  discover  some  mode  of  escape  from  the  danger- 
ous difficulties  of  the  public  situation.  .  .  . 

.  .  .  The  negotiations  which  now  ensued  between  the  rival 
political  leaders  speedily  resulted  in  a  satisfactory  under- 
standing, based  upon  a  project  of  confederation  of  all  the 
British  North  American  Provinces,  on  the  federal  principle, 
and  leaving  to  each  province  the  settlement  by  local  legislation  of 
its  own  municipal  and  peculiar  affairs.  .  .  .  Thus  a  strong  Coali- 
tion Government  was  formed  to  carry  out  the  newly  accepted 
policy  of  confederation,  and  though  extreme  parties  here  and 
there  grumbled  at  these  arrangements,  the  great  body  of  the 
people  of  all  shades  of  opinion,  thankful  that  the  dangerous 
crisis  had  been  safely  passed,  gladly  accepted  the  situation  and 
calmly  and  confidently  awaited  the  progress  of  events.  Never 
before  had  a  coalition  been  more  opportune.  It  would  seem 
indeed  as  if  a  special  Providence  was  controlling  matters  for 
own  wise  purposes.  .  .  . 


Mius  the  threatening  peril  was  averted,  and — to 
quote  for  the  last  time  on  this  subject — 

The  great  project  of  confederation  was  (on  the  20th  May 
1867)  at  length  finally  and  happily  completed,  and  the  morning 
voice  of  a  new  people  (the  Dominion  of  Canada)  was  heard 
among  the  nations  of  the  earth. 

What  might  have  been  the  result  of  the  state  of 
matters  above  described,  had  the  partial  union  con- 
tinued longer,  and  the  able  and  patriotic  statesman- 
ship of  Sir  John  Macdonald  or  some  later  statesman 
been  unable  at  a  time  of  difficulty  to  carry  through 
the  scheme  of  confederation,  who  shall  say  ? 


266    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

By  the  Confederation  Act  l  the  Dominion  of 
Canada  was  divided  into  four  distinct  provinces,  viz., 
Ontario  (formerly  Upper  Canada),  Quebec  (formerly 
Lower  Canada),  Nova  Scotia  and  New  Brunswick — 
each  province  to  have  its  separate  Legislature  for 
local  purposes,  and  the  existing  limits  of  each  to 
remain  undisturbed. 

To  these,  since  1867,  have  been  added  Prince 
Edward  Island,  British  Columbia,  and  Manitoba, 
with  the  North-West  Provinces. 

In  what  I  have  said  above,  it  has  not  been  my 
object  to  imply  that  any  of  the  proposals  short  of 
a  larger  confederation  than  that  of  the  two  Canadas 
would  certainly  have  been  attended  with  greater 
success  than  the  smaller  union. 

This  no  one  can  say.  There  were  drawbacks  to 
all,  such  as  would  possibly  have  led  to  opposition  and 
failure.  The  partial  union  also  had,  together  with 
its  drawbacks  and  dangers,  this  advantage — that  it 
prepared  the  public  mind  for  the  larger  and  more 
complete  measure. 

My  desire  has  been  simply  to  show  in  what  my 
father's  objections  to  the  "  Union  Bill  "  of  23rd  June 
1839,  as  urged  in  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill," 
consisted,  and  to  point  out  that,  with  the  exception 
of  the  main  measure  of  the  union,  the  alterations 
which  he  advised  in  this  Bill,  and  which  were  many, 
were  nearly  all  adopted  before  it  became  an  Act  in 
1840 ;  that  the  embarrassment  and  danger  which  he 
anticipated  from  the  main  measure  itself,  i.e.  of  the 
union  of  the  two  provinces  only,  were  not  imaginary 
but  very  real ;  that  the  solution  of  them  was  happily 

1  Styled  "  The  British  North  America  Act,  1867." 


ix  COLONIAL    POLICY  -J67 

sought  in  the  Confederation  of  all  the  British  pro- 
vinces, a  measure  the  assumed  dangers  of  which  he 
had  never  dreaded,  which  he  had  long  considered  the 
best  solution,  and  which  he  had  in  vain  strenuously 
advocated  forty-five  years  before  it  was  adopted. 

So  much  is  due  to  his  memory. 

Whether  before  his  death  in  January  1863,  he 
had  convinced  himself,  from  the  trend  of  public 
opinion  in  its  favour,  that  the  larger  scheme  of 
Confederation  would  be  certainly  carried  out,  as  it 
was  four  years  afterwards,  in  1867,  I  cannot  say, 
but  as  he  had  always  so  earnestly  advocated  the 
measure  I  hope  this  may  have  been  so. 

After  ceasing,  in  1841,  to  have  any  connection 
with  politics,  his  judicial  duties  entirely  absorbed  his 
time  and  thoughts,  and  I  cannot  recollect  his  ever 
speaking  upon  this  matter. 

In  1849,  the  North  American  League  was  formed 
in  Toronto  to  promote  the  measure,  and  in  1854  (also 
in  1861)  Nova  Scotia  passed  resolutions  in  favour 
of  it. 

In  1859  the  Governor-General  of  Canada  stated, 
on  opening  Parliament,  that  the  project  of  a  union 
of  all  British  North  America  had  formed  the  subject 
of  a  correspondence  wTith  the  Home  Government. 
But  it  was  not  until  1863,  a  few  months  after  my 
father's  death,  that  Canada  joined  with  Nova  Scotia 
and  the  Maritime  Provinces  to  urge  its  adoption. 

I  give  here  a  memorandum — of  which  the  rough 
draft  was  found  among  his  papers — bearing  upon  the 
Colonial  policy  of  the  Home  Government  as  to  the 
North  American  Colonies  existing  about  the  time  of 
his  death,  and  which  may  be  said  to  now  prevail. 
This  was  evidently  written  by  him  about  the  time 


268    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

that  the  policy  of  withdrawing  the  Imperial  troops 
from  Canada — afterwards  carried  out — was  generally 
spoken  of  as  that  of  the  Home  Government : 1- 

The  British  Government,  by  their  conduct  since  1840, 
seem  to  say  this  to  the  North  American  Colonies : 

You  are  large  countries,  growing  very  rapidly,  and  sure  to 
contain  before  long  some  millions  of  inhabitants. 

We  believe  that  whenever  it  may  suit  you  to  rebel,  you 
will  rebel. 

We  are  resolved  not  to  add  millions  to  our  national  debt 
by  attempting  to  maintain  your  connection  with  us  by  force, 
especially  at  the  expense  of  a  war  with  your  powerful  neigh- 
bours, which  such  a  struggle  would  probably  lead  to. 

If  you  are  ever  to  separate,  we  had  rather  you  separated 
before  we  spend  more  millions  on  maintaining  troops  and 
garrisons  among  you. 

Moreover,  we  have  no  dread  about  hastening  the  period  of 
separation,  because  we  take  a  different  view  now  from  that 
which  used  to  be  taken  of  the  uses  and  advantages  of  colonies. 

We  now  believe  that  there  ought  to  be  no  friendship  in 
trade.  We  are  convinced  that  both  we  and  you  should  buy 
and  sell  wherever  we  can  do  it  to  the  most  advantage,  and  that 
we  should  allow  any  one  to  carry  for  us  cheaper  than  we  can 
carry  for  each  other,  and  for  ourselves. 

In  order  then  that  you  may  see  the  sooner  your  true  position, 
we  will  begin  the  separation  on  our  part  by  rebelling  against 
the  principle  of  mutual  obligation,  which  has  hitherto  been 
held  to  be  the  consequence  of  allegiance. 

We  shall  withdraw  our  troops  from  the  Colonies,  and  pay 
no  part  of  the  expense  attending  the  maintenance  of  a  connec- 
tion which  we  look  upon  as  no  affair  of  ours,  but  one  that 
only  concerns  you. 

All  that  we  propose  to  do  hereafter  is  to  appoint  your 
Governor  as  we  have  hitherto  done,  and  as  we  do  not  intend 


1  Though  the  policy  of  making  the  self-governing  colonies  responsible 
for  their  own  defence  was  introduced  about  1862,  the  troops  were  not 
actually  withdrawn  from  Canada  till  1870. 


ix  COLONIAL    POLICY  269 

him  to  perform  any  of  the  functions  of  government  for  the 
Colony  (but  to  be  merely  our  agent  for  reporting  to  us  what  is 
done  by  the  Assembly,  whom  we  intend  shall  be  the  ivul  rulers), 
we  shall  not  object  to  paying  his  salary  onr>el\r-. 

He  will  be  instructed  by  us  to  let  the  majority  do  as  they 
like,  unless  they  should  plainly  propose  to  break  the  connection 
with  the  Mother  Country,  in  which  case  any  Bill  which  shall  be 
presented  to  them  for  such  a  purpose  is  to  be  reserved  for  our 
consideration,  and  not  assented  to  at  once — the  probability, 
however,  being  that  we  should  not  disallow  it. 

Such  is  now  the  colonial  relation,  and  such  is  the  disposi- 
tion ot  mankind,  that  I  question  whether,  after  all,  the  connec- 
tion may  not  endure  longer  under  such  an  understanding  than 
under  any  other. 

An  impatient  horse,  tied  near  a  precipice,  will  pull  and 
struggle  in  all  directions  to  get  free,  not  regarding  the  risk  he 
may  run  of  precipitating  himself  over  the  brink.  But  if  he 
were  turned  out  to  provide  for  himself,  he  would  be  in  no  such 
danger.  He  would  gra/.e  near  the  edge,  but  having  nothing  to 
pull  against,  and  being  left  at  liberty  to  go  where  he  pleased, 
he  would  not  choose  to  break  his  neck. 

Evidently  he  did  not  anticipate  that  the  new 
policy  would  tend  to  separation. 

With  what  pleasure  he  would  have  seen  the 
British  provinces  forming  the  Dominion  of  Canada 
to-day  ! 

Confederated,  contented,  prosperous,  with  their 
value  more  and  more  appreciated  by  the  Mother 
Country,  and  evincing  a  loyalty  and  devotion  to  her 
in  war  and  peace  which  the  trials  and  responsibilities 
born  of  empire  have  served  only  to  deepen  and 
strengthen  ! 


CHAPTER  X 

JOURNAL   AND   CORRESPONDENCE   IN  ENGLAND 
OCTOBER  1838  TO  DECEMBER  1839 

English  interest  in  Canadian  questions — Visits  to  Sir  F.  Head  and  Sir 
Robert  Peel — Letter  from  the  latter  —  Destruction  of  St.  James' 
Church,  Toronto — Durham  report— Visit  to  Sir  Wilmot  Horton  — 
Mrs.  Jameson's  book — Interview  with  the  Duke  of  Wellington  — 
Defences  of  Canada,  &c. — Views  of  1822  as  to  the  union  unchanged 
— The  Queen's  ladies — Resignation  of  the  Ministry — Apsley  House — 
Appointed  by  Legislative  Council  to  represent  interests  of  Canada — 
Dinner  with  Cordwainers'  Company  —  Sir  W.  Follett  and  Lord 
Lyndhurst  as  to  American  prisoners — Interview  with  Lord  Normanby 
and  Lord  J.  Russell — Soiree  at  Thomas  Campbell's — Consecration  of 
Dr.  Strachan — Letter  from  Sir  George  Arthur — Obtains  extension  of 
leave. 

MY  father's  journal  and  correspondence  while  in 
England  between  1838  and  1840  —  from  which 
in  the  next  two  chapters  I  give  many  extracts-^- 
show  that  his  time  and  thoughts  were  almost 
continuously  occupied  throughout  this  period  with 
public  questions  connected  with  the  Canadas  then 
under  the  consideration  of  the  Imperial  Govern- 
ment :  such  as  the  recommendations  of  the  Durham 
report,  and  the  proposed  union  of  the  Upper  and 
Lower  Provinces ;  the  Clergy  Reserves ;  and  the 
course  to  be  pursued  with  the  American  prisoners 
taken  in  the  Canadian  Rebellion.  What  I  have  said 
in  previous  chapters  will,  I  hope,  enable  his  references 
to  these  subjects  to  be  now  fully  understood. 

Although  colonial  matters  sixty  years  ago  aroused 
far  less  interest  in  England  in  ordinary  times  than 
they  do  at  the  present  day,  the  circumstances  of  the 


270 


ENGLISH  INTEREST  IN  CANADA     J7 1 

moment  had  brought  Canadian  subjects  into  excep- 
tional prominence  there. 

The  course  which  leading  men  in  politics — Sir 
Robert  Peel,  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  Lord  .John 
Russell,  Lord  Lyndhurst,  and  others — would  take 
upon  Canadian  questions,  and  the  possibility  of  the 
defeat  of  the  Ministry  upon  its  Canadian  policy,  were 
the  subjects  of  discussion  in  public  and  private ;  the 
attention  of  those  in  political  life  was  much  directed 
to  them  ;  and  it  was  felt  that  with  the  future  ad- 
ministration of  the  British-American  Colonies  im- 
portant Imperial  interests  were  bound  up. 

The  views  of  Sir  Robert  Peel  as  to  the  union  of 
the  Upper  and  Lower  Provinces  of  Canada  were  not 
disclosed  for  a  long  time,  but  eventually  he  advocated 
it.  The  Duke  of  Wellington  and  Lord  Lyndhurst 
opposed  it ;  Lord  John  Russell,  who  had  introduced 
the  Bill  in  June  1839,  was  its  leading  supporter. 

Sir  Herbert  Maxwell,  in  his  "  Life  of  Welling- 
ton," says  :— 

The  course  taken  by  Sir  Robert  Peel  on  the  union  of  the 
Canaclas  was  the  occasion  of  a  fresh  difference  (with  the  Duke 
of  Wellington),  and  all  intercourse  L  ceased  between  them. 

My  father's  presence  in  England  at  this  period, 
and  his  knowledge  of  and  position  in  Canada,  led  to 
his  being  constantly  referred  to  upon  Canadian  topics 
by  members  of  the  Government  and  others. 

He  had  several  times  to  come  up  to  London  from 
Cheltenham,  Brighton,  &c.,  to  keep  appointments  at 
the  Colonial  Office  and  with  public  men. 

It  was  often  with  inconvenience  and  some  risk  to 

1  The  meaning  of  this,  no  doubt,  is  that  all  intercourse  for  a  time 
ceased  between  them. 


272    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

himself  that  these  journeys  were  made,  as  his  health, 
especially  at  first,  was  far  from  good,  and  he  really 
required  rest  and  freedom  from  work ;  but  when  he 
thought  he  might  be  of  use  to  Canada  by  imparting 
the  information  which  he  possessed  to  those  who 
desired  and  had  a  right  to  obtain  it,  he  never  spared 
himself. 

Sometimes  he  came  to  town  alone,  leaving  his 
family  in  the  country,  and  sometimes  with  my  mother 
and  others. 

Much  attention,  both  of  a  public  and  private 
character,  was  shown  to  him  in  London,  particularly 
by  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  who  was  thoroughly 
versed  in  all  Canadian  matters,  and  the  kindness  and 
hospitality  he  met  with  as  coming  from  Canada  were 
unbounded. 

As  everything  associated  with  the  great  Duke  has 
an  interest  of  its  own,  I  have  quoted  rather  largely  in 
this  chapter  from  my  father's  references  to  conversa- 
tions, &c.,  with  him. 

To  Sir  Robert  Peel  he  paid  two  visits  at  Drayton 
Manor. 

He  received  great  kindness  from  Sir  Robert 
Harry  Inglis,  member  for  Oxford,  a  strong  Conser- 
vative and  earnest  Churchman,  widely  known  and 
respected  by  men  of  all  shades  of  opinion,  and  whose 
friendship  he  especially  valued.1 

Sir  Wilmot  Horton  he  met  constantly,  their  ac- 
quaintance having  been  kept  up  since  1822,  when  he 
was  Mr.  Wilmot,  and  its  cordiality  not  having  been 
lessened  by  their  difference  of  view  as  to  the  union. 

He  was  also  often  with  Lord  Lyndhurst,  whom 

1  See  entry  in  my  father's  Journal  for  5th  May  1855,  chap.  xiv. 


x  CHELTENHAM— LONDON  _>;:>> 

he  had  met  in  previous  years,  when  Mr.  Copley  ; 
witli  the  Bishop  of  Exeter  (Phillpotts)  ;  Mr.  (after- 
wards Sir  John)  Pakington,1  Lord  Seaton,  Sir 
Francis  Head,  and  Sir  Peregrine  Maitlaml,  all  of 
whom  were  then  in  England,  and  naturally  deeply 
interested  in  Canadian  topics. 

With  some  of  the  above,  a  correspondence  more 
or  less  constant  was  kept  up  by  him  throughout 
life. 

When  he  reached  England,  the  Merrys,  my 
mother's  relations,  were  at  5  Lansdowne  Terrace, 
Cheltenham,  where  they  lived  when  not  at  High- 
lands in  Berkshire,  and  this  led  to  his  going  first  to 
Cheltenham,  where  he  took  a  house  (7  Lansdowne 
Place),  and  then  reported  himself  personally  at  the 
Colonial  Office.  Lord  Glenelg,  Secretary  of  State 
for  the  Colonies,  being  out  of  London,  he  returned 
to  Cheltenham,  and,  in  December  1838,  was  vet- 
ting out  with  my  mother  and  two  of  my  sisters 
for  Atherstone  in  Warwickshire  upon  a  visit  to  Sir 
Francis  and  Lady  Head,  when  a  request  was  re- 
ceived from  Lord  Glenelg  that,  if  his  health  per- 
mitted, he  would  come  to  town  immediately, 
the  mail  steamer,  taking  official  letters  to  Canada. 
with  reference  to  which  he  wished  to  see  him,  was 
to  sail  in  three  or  four  day^. 

Leaving  the  others  at  Birmingham  to  go  on 
without  him  to  Atherstone,  he  took  the  train  thence 
to  London. 

These  were  the  early  days  of  railways.  The 
journey  -  -  113  miles  —  owing  to  unexpected  and 


1  Mr.    1'akinirtcMi    was  created   a   baronet  in  1846,  and  raised  to  the 
peerage  as  Lord  Hampton  in  1H74  ;  died  1880. 


274    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

vexatious  delays,  took  many  hours  longer  than  had 
been  anticipated,  and  he  did  not  reach  town  till 
midnight. 

I  was  very  cold,  he  writes  in  his  Journal,  and  not  being  well, 
suffered  a  good  deal. 

After  seeing  Lord  Glenelg  and  Sir  George  Grey, 
he  called  upon  Lord  Durham  in  Cleveland  Row  and 
had  a  short  conversation  with  him. 

He  looked  ill  and  anxious,  and  talked  chiefly  of  past  occur- 
rences which  had  occasioned  him  to  return,  and  did  not  seem 
inclined  to  enter  into  any  account  of  what  measures  he  intended 
to  recommend. 

When,  after  this,  he  had  rejoined  my  mother  at 
Sir  Francis  Head's,  Sir  Robert  Peel  invited  both  him 
and  Sir  Francis  to  dine  and  stay  the  night  at  Drayton 
Manor,  about  eight  miles  from  Ather stone. 

Writing  to  Dr.  Strachan  on  24th  January  1839, 
he  mentions  this  visit : — 

Sir  Robert  was  quite  alone,  except  Lady  Peel,  and  a  re- 
markably fine  family  of  children. 

We  sat  up  till  twelve  o'clock,  talking  of  Canada  principally, 
and  returned  to  Atherstone  about  midday  the  next  day.  Be- 
fore I  left  him  he  expressed  a  wish  that  I  should  pay  him 
another  visit  the  following  week,  when,  he  said,  he  expected  the 
Duke  of  Wellington. 

On  that  occasion  I  spent  two  nights,  and  nearly  three  days 
there.  The  Duke  was  detained  at  home  by  a  cold,  but  Lord 
Sandon,  Lord  Stanley,  the  Duke  of  Rutland,  General  Alava, 
Lord  Hill,  Mr.  Arbuthnot,  Lord  Wilton,  Sir  Henry  Hardinge, 
Lord  Fitz  Roy  Somerset,  and  several  others  were  there.  My 
visit  was  made  agreeable  in  every  way,  though  I  was  not  well 
enough  to  join  in  any  amusement  out  of  doors. 

Of  those  mentioned  above,  Lord  Hill,  Sir  Henry 


x  SIR   ROBERT    PEEL  275 

Hardinge,  and  Lord  Fitz  Roy  Somerset  (afterwards 
Lord  Raglan)  are  well  known  in  connection  with 
the  campaigns  of  the  Peninsula,  India,  and  the 
Crimea.  Mr.  Arbuthnot  was  private  secretary  to 
the  Duke  of  Wellington  and  lived  much  with  him. 
General  Alava  was  a  Spanish  officer  of  distinction, 
who  having  been  attached  to  the  British  head- 
quarters at  Waterloo,  and  also  fought  in  the  Spanish 
navy  at  Trafalgar,  is  said  to  have  been  the  only 
individual  known  to  have  been  present  at  both  these 
great  battles. 

Sir  Robert  Peel  writes  to  my  father.  January  10, 
1839,  from  Dray  ton  Manor: — 

MY  DKAK  SIR, — I  very  much  regretted  that  the  necessity  of 
constant  attention  to  a  large  party  of  guests  left  me  little 
leisure,  when  you  last  favoured  me  with  your  company  at  Dray- 
ton  Manor,  for  free  communication  with  you  on  much  more 
important  and  interesting  matters. 

I  do  not  think  you  will  find  yourself  practically  in  an  em- 
barrassing situation  in  consequence  of  any  course  you  may  take 
in  reference  to  Canadian  affairs,  or  any  interviews  you  may 
have  with  men  of  different  political  parties  here.  It  will  be 
universally  acknowledged  that  nothing  could  be  more  natural 
than  that  you  should  adhere  in  this  country  to  the  intimacies 
and  friendships,  which  the  agreement  in  principle  and  the  sense 
of  common  danger  were  so  likely  to  cement  in  Upper  Canada, 
and  that  nothing  could  be  more  useful  to  the  province  than 
that  you  should  disregard  the  political  and  party  differences 
which  divide  us,  and  seek  to  impart  and  impress  upon  all  public 
men  here  those  opinions  which  experience  in  Canadian  affairs 
and  the  advantage  of  local  knowledge  and  connection  have 
cMititled  you  to  form. 

I  for  one  shall  be  most  happy  to  communicate  with  you 
without  reserve,  having  the  fullest  confidence  in  your  ability, 
integrity,  and  attachment  to  the  interests  both  of  the  pro- 


276    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

vinces  of  which  you  are  an  ornament  and  of  the  Mother 
Country. 

It  appears  to  me  that  the  time  has  come  when  the  Execu- 
tive Government  of  this  country  must,  without  the  delay  of 
a  month,  pronounce  some  decisive  and  intelligible  opinion 
respecting  the  whole  of  the  Canadian  questions. 

My  opinion  is  that  the  Government  ought  to  declare  on 
the  part  of  the  sovereign  power  of  this  country — 

First. — Its  determination,  at  all  hazards,  to  maintain  the 
connection  with  its  British  North  American  Colonies,  and  to 
send  such  a  force  there  as  should  enable  it  to  insist  upon  the 
observance  of  the  first  principles  of  j  ustice  by  the  United  States  ; 
not  only  by  those  who  are  called,  by  courtesy,  the  Government 
of  the  United  States,  but  by  the  people  of  that  country. 

My  belief  is  that  this  is  the  only  way  of  averting  war  with 
the  United  States,  as  a  consequence  of  American  piracy  and 
depredation ;  and  that  the  fear  of  a  powerful  military  force  in 
the  Canadas,  ready  to  act  aggressively  in  the  event  of  hostility, 
is  almost  the  only  stimulus  that  can  be  applied  to  effectual 
exertion  on  the  part  of  the  United  States  to  check  invasions 
which  cannot  be  tolerated  by  this  country  without  public 
dishonour  to  her. 

Secondly. — I  think  the  Government  should  avow  that  they 
will  not  permit  any  longer  the  forms  and  privileges  of  a  free 
Constitution  and  representative  Government  to  be  perverted, 
in  Lower  Canada,  from  the  object  for  which  they  were  granted 
to  the  systematic  destruction  of  British  interests  and  the 
undermining  of  British  authority  ;  that  they  intend  to  act, 
without  any  revengeful  feeling  for  the  past,  with  justice  and 
impartiality  to  all,  so  far  as  all  legal  rights — as  distinguished 
from  favour  and  confidence — are  concerned  ;  but  that  they  will 
execute  their  resolution  of  maintaining  British  authority  and 
defeating  treasonable  designs  openly  and  frankly r,  taking  boldly 
all  such  power  as  is  necessary  for  the  purpose,  and  not  seeking 
to  hide  their  design  under  the  cover  and  pretence  of  re- 
establishing a  popular  Government  to  be  hereafter  thwarted  and 
defeated  by  indirect  means.  There  is  much  less  injury  done  to 
that  form  of  Government  by  the  frank  avowal  that  it  is 


x  SIK    HOHERT    PEEL  i>77 

unsuitable  in  a  certain  case,  than  by  pretending  to  establish  it 
in  form  but  refusing  it  in  substance. 

Thirdly. — I  would  avow  that  this  opportunity  should  be 
taken  of  giving  to  the  Upper  Province  those  facilities  for  com- 
mercial enterprise  and  free  intercourse  with  other  countries, 
which  nature  seems  to  have  assigned  to  her,  but  of  which  she 
is  at  present  deprived  by  legislative  enactments  now  fairly  open 
to  review.1 

...  I  can  easily  believe  that  the  details  for  executing  these 
leading  principles  would  require  the  most  careful  consideration. 
In  many  cases  it  is  very  unwise  to  announce  a  principle  without 
being  fully  prepared  to  execute  it  in  all  its  details,  but  in  the 
of  the  Canadas  I  doubt  much  whether  the  best  mode  of 
obviating  the  difficulties  of  detail  would  not  be  a  decisive 
declaration  that  the  British  Parliament  had  made  uj>  its  mind 
to  do  certain  things,  and  would  proceed  to  do  them.  The 
minds  of  men,  ministers,  and  others,  will  then  be  applied  to 
the  consideration  of  the  best  mode  of  executing  that  which  is 
in  principle  resolved  upon,  which  they  will  not  be  while  every- 
thing is  left  in  uncertainty  by  the  appointment  of  fresh  com- 
missions, anil  the  institution  of  interminable  inquiries,  the 
Government  appearing  to  have  no  opinion,  or,  as  is  probably 
the  truth,  having  none. — Believe  me,  my  dear  sir,  with  great 
esteem,  very  faithfully  yours,  ROBERT  PEKL. 


In  a  letter  to  Dr.  Strachan  of  February  10th,  my 
father  say  s : 

To-morrow  morning  I  go  to  London.  The  report  of  Lord 
Durham  is  to  be  laid  before  the  House,  and  in  the  meantime 
it  has,  nobody  knows  how,  found  its  way  into  the  Times.  I 
have  only  seen  part  of  it. 

And  he  thus  alludes  to  the  burning  of  the 
church  of  St.  James,  the  present  cathedral  church 

1  Alludes  apparently  to  the  dividing  line  between  the  provinces 
having  deprived  I'pper  Canada  of  a  >eaj»ort  •  see  chap,  ix.),  and  the  fiscal 
difficulties  which  this  entailed  upon  her. 


278    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

of  Toronto,   on  7th  January  1839,  of  which  he  had 
recently  heard.1 

We  have  all  felt  deeply  the  destruction  of  our  excellent 
church.  Pray,  in  any  of  your  measures,  reckon  upon  me  as 
one  who  will  go  the  full  length  with  the  most  zealous  of  your 
parishioners.  You  have  need  of  all  your  fortitude  and  unyield- 
ing spirit,  and  I  pray  God  it  may  fully  support  you  under  your 
trials  of  every  description. 

Between  February  llth  and  the  end  of  March 
1839  he  was  alone  in  London,  staying  at  the 
Spring  Gardens  Hotel,  and  much  occupied  with  an 
examination  of  Lord  Durham's  report. 

On  the  22nd  February  he  writes  to  my  mother : — 

Since  Tuesday  morning  I  have  literally  been  a  hermit  in 
London,  seeing  nothing,  and  being  seen  of  none,  when  I  could 
help  it. 

That  Report!  When  I  read  the  119  folio  pages  I  hardly 
found  a  passage  I  did  not  burn  to  expose. 

On  Tuesday  I  took  it  up,  and  commenced  the  criticism  in  a 
connected  form,  and  after  two  days'  hard  work,  on  Wednesday 
night  I  found  I  had  got  to  page  27  out  of  119. 

How  it  worried  me ! — so  much  to  say ;  such  a  wish  to 
shorten  it. 

But  while  I  was  taking  a  stroll  in  St.  James's  Park,  my  good 
genius  whispered — "Work  at  it  leisurely  at  Cheltenham  or 
elsewhere,  but  now  go  at  the  main  point,  the  Recommendations" 

It  was  clearly  the  right  course.  I  could  thus  make  a 
readable  paper  of  moderate  length,  and  could  have  it  forthwith. 

Yesterday  morning,  at  half-past  nine,  I  commenced  my 
intended  letter  to  Lord  Normanby,  and  precisely  at  12  (mid- 
night), having  stopped  half-an-hour  for  dinner,  I  had  the 
satisfaction  of  writing  "  I  have  the  honour  to  be,11  &c. 

I  believe  I  never  in  my  life  went  through  a  harder  day's 
work  of  the  same  kind. 


1  An  appeal  for  funds  to  rebuild  this  church  was  liberally  met,  and  it 
was  re-erected  by  December  in  the  same  year. 


x  DURHAM   REPORT  279 

When  I  deliver  in  the  paper  I  shall  stand  acquitted  in  my 
conscience,  happen  what  may. 

He  also  wrote  to  my  mother  on  18th  February 
1839  :— 

I  was  picked  up  on  Saturday  at  Mr.  TuffheUX  Sir  \V. 
Morton's  son-in-law,  in  Cavendish  Square,  and  when  I  stepped 
into  the  carriage  to  join  Sir  W.  and  Lady  Horton,  saw  on  the 
front  seat  a  large  square  black  box,  and  by  the  side  of  it,  who 
do  you  think  ?  but  Anna  herself.1 

She  looked,  I  assure  you,  a  conscience-smitten  caitiff.  I  told 
her  it  was  fair  to  apprise  her  that  I  was  engaged  in  reviewing 
her  book. 

She  was  for  some  years  in  Lord  Hathertoifs  family,  and  as 
Lord  H.  was  on  a  visit  to  the  Hortons,  they  asked  her  down 
to  meet  him. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Carleton  were  there.  She  is  a  sister  of  Sir 
W.  Horton,  and  he  is  a  son  of  old  Lord  Dorchester,  the  first 
Governor-General  of  Canada. 

Then  we  had  a  Miss  Brown  lee,  who  tried  her  hand  at 
sketching  me,  whether  with  more  success  than  Mr.  Dighton  2  I 
cannot  say. 

Uoth  Sir  W.  and  Lady  Horton  express  much  desire  to  see 
you  and  the  girls.  I  have  promised  a  visit  for  you,  and  can 
answer  for  its  being  a  most  agreeable  one. 

Returning  to  Cheltenham  by  the  1st  April,  he 
came  again  to  town  on  the  17th  with  my  mother  and 
eldest  sister,  taking  lodgings  at  3  Spring  Gardens, 
and  on  the  *24th  the  rest  of  the  family  joined  them. 

About  this  time  his  leave  was  extended  by  the 
Secretary  of  State  for  six  months  longer,  and  in 
informing  him  of  this  Mr.  Labouchere  added  :— 

1  Anna  Jameson,  married  to  Vire-(  hancellor  Jameson,  of  Upper  Canada, 
and  authoress  of  "Winter  Studies  and  Summer  Rambles  in  Canada"  (1&38), 
in  which  Toronto  society  had  been  discussed  and  my  father  spoken  of  as 
having  "  a  fine  head  and  acute  features,  and  the  most  pleasing,  insinuating 
voice  1  have  ever  heard." 

2  A  water-colour  sketch  of  my  father,  seated  at  his  library  table,  had 
been  taken  by  a  Mr.  Dighton  at  Cheltenham. 


280    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

I  am  desired  to  acquaint  you  that  Lord  Normanby  is  happy 
to  have  it  in  his  power,  by  acceding  to  your  request,  to  express, 
in  however  slight  a  manner,  the  respect  which  he  entertains  for 
yourself  personally,  and  the  estimation  in  which  he  holds  your 
services. 

I  now  quote  from  his  Journal  :— 

%9th  April  1839. — I  received  a  note  from  Mr.  Arbuthnot 
saying  that  the  Duke  of  Wellington  had  asked  if  I  did  not 
mean  to  call  upon  him.  He  said  the  Duke  would  be  glad  to 
see  me  any  day  at  twelve,  except  Tuesday. 

\st  May. — I  called  on  the  Duke  at  twelve  o'clock,  and  was 
with  him  about  an  hour. 

I  had  sent  him  some  days  before  a  letter  from  Sir  John 
Colborne,  containing  his  ideas  of  the  state  of  Lower  Canada, 
and  of  what  ought  to  be  done  by  Parliament.  He  had  also 
had  copies  of  my  letters  to  Lord  Normanby  on  Lord  Durham's 
report ;  on  the  measures  necessary  for  the  future  government 
of  Canada ;  and  on  the  measures  for  restoring  confidence  and 
security  to  Canada. 

Before  going  further  it  may  be  as  well  here  to 
say  that  my  father  had  urged  in  the  letters  above 
mentioned,  and  to  which  I  have  alluded  in  the  last 
chapter,  that  nothing  would  more  effectually  stop 
the  troubles  on  the  Canadian  frontier  than  a  clear 
announcement  in  the  British  Parliament  that  Great 
Britain  was  determined  to  maintain  her  connection 
with  her  Colonies,  putting  forth,  if  necessary,  all  her 
strength  to  that  end  ;  and  that  foreign  Governments 
should  be  left  in  no  doubt  that  in  making  war  upon 
any  portion  of  the  British  Empire  they  were  making 
war  on  Great  Britain. 

The  policy  he  advocated  had  in  fact  much  in 
common  with  that  which  Sir  Robert  Peel  was  in 
favour  of  (see  his  letter  of  10th  January  1839,  already 


DUKE   OF   WELLINGTON  i>8i 

in  this  chapter),  but  as  to  which  there  existed 
a  strong  impression  that  the  Government  would 
not  be  bold  enough  to  carry  it  out.  The  existence 
abroad  of  this  impression,  from  whatever  cause  it  had 
arisen,  and  whether  right  or  wrong,  had,  he  thought, 
largely  contributed  to  produce  what  had  occurred. 

The  measures  of  defence  which  he  advocated  have 
been  touched  upon  in  chapter  iii.,  in  connection  with 
the  American  War. 

With  respect  to  the  American  and  other  foreign 
invaders  of  Canadian  territory  during  the  Rebellion, 
he  considered  that  their  liability  to  trial  by  military 
tribunals  (see  chapter  viii.)  was  essential,  but  with 
regard  to  certain  prisoners  taken  after  the  cannonad- 
ing of  Amherstburg,  and  the  killing  and  wounding 
of  British  soldiers,  that  the  best  effect  would  be 
produced  by  sending  them  to  England  to  answer 
there  to  the  Crown  for  their  offences. 

It  must  be  explained  that  at  this  time  the  extra- 
dition treaties  with  the  United  States,  which  had 
their  origin  largely  in  the  events  on  the  Canadian 
border  in  1837-38,  did  not  exist. 

Journal  continued. 

The  Duke  was  looking  remarkably  well  and  cheerful. 

It  was  his  birthday  (1st  May),  and  he  had  completed  his 
seventieth  year.  He  began  by  returning  me  Sir  J.  Colborne's 
letter,  and  laying  my  letter  on  the  defence,  &c.,  of  the  provinces 
before  him  on  the  table,  and  then  said  (referring  to  an  expres- 
sion of  Sir  J.  Colborne's  that  the  St.  Lawrence  should  be  made 
an  "imperial  river1'1), — 

Great  Britain  has  given  to  these  provinces  each  a  separate 
Legislature,  and  they  have  certain  terms  and  conditions  which 
they  wished  and  desired  respecting  the  trade  and  navigation  of 
the  river,  and  you  do  nothing  for  them  by  merely  saying  it 


282    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

shall  be  an  "imperial  river."  You  must  show  them  how  their 
interests  are  to  stand,  and  why  not  do  that  at  once — now — by 
your  measure  ? 

After  a  time  he  pointed  to  my  paper  which  was  on  the 
table,  and  said  : — 

I  have  read  your  paper — every  word  of  it — and  have  con- 
sidered it  well.  The  subject  is  not  new  to  me.  I  suggested 
twenty  years  ago  the  measures  that  I  thought  should  be  taken 
for  the  defence  of  the  Canadas.  I  was  then  Master-General  of 
the  Ordnance,  and  I  made  it  my  business  to  acquaint  myself 
with  the  particular  position  and  geography  of  the  provinces. 
I  remember  the  whole  matter  perfectly.  I  am  sure  that  I  could 
now,  from  this  room,  give  directions  for  posting  an  army  at 
Burlington  Heights. 

You  speak  also  of  Penetanguishene.  I  remember  I  was 
most  anxious  that  that  should  be  made  a  strong  and  important 
station. 

I  agree  in  all  you  say  about  the  measures  that  ought  to  be 
taken  with  the  American  Government,  and  about  the  disposal 
of  their  people  when  made  prisoners.  You  are  right  in  every- 
thing, but  mind,  I  tell  you,  the  Ministers  will  do  nothing  what- 
ever respecting  this. 

Your  paper,  my  dear  sir,  was  written  for  a  different  country, 
for  a  different  state  of  things  altogether.  Your  paper  was 
written  for  "  Old  England,"  but  this  is  not  "  Old  England," 
nor  anything  like  it.  I  speak  of  what  I  remember,  but  you 
must  see  yourself  that  everything  is  totally  changed. 

I  venture  to  say  that  you  will  not  be  able  to  get  them  to 
look  at  that  paper;  no,  nor  upon  anything  of  the  colour  of 
that  paper. 

The  whole  now  is  a  miserable  party  warfare,  in  which  all  the 
grand  interests  of  the  nation  are  sunk.  If  the  people  in  Down- 
ing Street  tell  you  that  they  could  do  anything  for  the  Colonies, 
such  as  you  point  out,  don't  believe  them.  They  can  do 
nothing  of  the  kind.  They  are  under  an  influence  that  will 
not  allow  them  to  do  it. 

See  what  the  Government  are  now  doing  in  this  Jamaica 
question.  I  say  to  the  West  Indian  people,  if  these  measures 


x  DUKE   OF  WELLINGTON  288 

are  carried,  my  advice  to  you  is,  sell  your  property  if  you  can 
and  leave  the  country  ;  and,  if  you  can't  sell  your  property.  >till 
you  had  better  leave  the  country,  and  go  into  the  first  En<r|i>h 
workhouse  that  will  receive  you,  for  there,  at  any  rate,  your  life 
will  be  safe. 

Now,  sir,  I  tell  you,  that  the  Government  will  do  nothing 
of  the  kind  that  you  there  point  out  to  them.  They  can't  do 
it,  the  time  for  looking  at  great  questions  in  this  way  is  gone 
by.  Look  at  the  language  the  Government  has  always  held 
about  the  affairs  in  Canada ;  they  have  never  made  the 
Queen  say  more,  in  effect,  than  that  she  will  support  those 
who  support  her.  It  is  not  merely  because  some  of  her 
subjects  there  have  behaved  well  that  the  support  should  be 
given.  It's  because  her  Empire  has  been  attacked  —  that's 
the  reason. 

This  is  but  a  small  part  of  what  he  said.  His  conversation 
was  very  interesting.  His  manner  was  animated  and  warm,  his 
voice  occasionally  loud.  His  eye  particularly  kind  and  intelli- 
gent, but  his  hearing  is  a  little  difficult.  One  cannot  so  readily 
<li.tnt.vjf  a  matter  with  him  as  with  a  younger  man. 

I  could  not  but  look  upon  him  with  intense  interest  while 
he  was  speaking — his  honest  language,  his  open  bearing,  and 
then  the  recollection  of  the  career  he  had  had. 

In  connection  with  the  measures  suggested  by  the 
Duke  of  Wellington  for  the  defence  of  the  Canadas, 
which  (so  far  as  I  am  aware)  have  not  been  made 
public,  the  following  letter l  written  by  Lord  Stanley 
to  Sir  Robert  Peel,  a  few  years  later  than  the  date  on 
which  the  above  entry  in  my  father's  Journal  was 
made,  has  an  interest  :— 

"  \-lth  August  l«4.x 
(Secret.) 

I  send  you — I  dare  not  send  the  Duke — what  appears  to 

1  "Sir  Robert  Peel— from  his  Private  Papers  "—edited  for  bis  trustees 
by  C.  S.  Parker  (1899),  vol.  iii.  p.  216. 


284    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

me  a  very  wild  letter  from  Lord  Metcalfe  l  on  the  chances  of 
war  with  the  United  States,  and  the  course  to  be  pursued. 

I  am  clearly  of  opinion  (contrary  to  his)  that  in  such  an 
event,  our  operations  on  the  Canadian  frontier  must  be  purely 
defensive.  It  must,  however,  be  admitted  that  in  Canada,  as 
elsewhere,  our  defensive  works  are  sadly  deficient.  Whenever 
I  have  touched  upon  the  question  with  the  Duke,  he  always 
refers  back  to  a  plan  laid  down  by  himself  in  1826,  the  expense 
of  which  was  so  enormous  that  all  Governments  have  deferred 
acting  upon  it. 

Journal  continued. 


May  1839.—  Dined  at  Lord  WharnclifiVs,  where  I  met, 
with  others,  Lord  Harrowby  and  Lord  Aberdeen.  I  had,  at 
dinner  and  after,  a  good  deal  of  conversation  with  Lord  Aber- 
deen respecting  Canada.  He  spoke  strongly  against  the  union. 

4tth  May.  —  I  now  see  that  Ministers  have  announced  their 
measure  ;  a  royal  message  was  delivered  in  each  House,  recom- 
mending a  legislative  union.  After  twelve  o'clock  I  called  on 
Sir  Robert  Peel  by  appointment.  He  tells  me  that  the  West 
India  debate  stands  for  Monday,  and  that  the  Canada  business 
is  further  postponed  till  Wednesday. 

I  can  consistently  repeat  my  objections  to  the  union,  for  I 
have  never  changed  my  view  of  the  subject.  My  letter  to  the 
Secretary  of  State  in  1822  contains  what  I  still  think,  only 
that  all  that  has  since  occurred  strengthens  my  repugnance  to 
the  measure.2 

7th  May.  —  Mr.  Amyott  called,  and  told  me  the  result  of 
last  night's  debate  upon  the  Jamaica  Bill.  Ministers  had  only 
five  of  a  majority.  I  inferred  that  they  must  go  out,3  and  the 
surmise  was  strengthened  by  my  getting  a  note  from  Mr.  Edward 
Ellice,  with  whom  I  was  to  dine  to-day,  saying  that  "  some- 
thing unexpected  had  occurred  "  and  begging  me  not  to  come. 

1  Lord  Metcalfe  was  Governor-General  of  Canada  1843-47. 

2  See  chap.  vi.  and  chap.  ix. 

a  The  Bill  for  the  suspension  of  the  constitution  in  Jamaica,  where  the 
Assembly  had  declared  against  Imperial  interference  or  control,  being 
only  carried  by  five  votes,  the  Ministry  resigned,  being  disinclined  with 
so  narrow  a  majority  in  favour  of  their  policy  to  deal  with  the  Jamaica 
question. 


x  UKSK, NATION    OF    MINISTRY 

At   Bight  O'clock   the  newsmen  WIMV  iT\ing   about   tin-  str« 

•mill  edition  of  t  lit-  ('ouritt\  and  the  roi^nat  ion  of  Lord 
Melbourne  and  the  Ministry. 

Hth  May.  —  Dined  tit  Lord  Lvndluirsrs.  Lord  Hroiighum 
was  there  in  full  dre>>,  meaning  to  go  in  the  evening  to 
Cambridge  House.  Dark-coloured  coat  with  metal  buttons,  a 
white  satin  waist  roat  sprigged,  purple-coloured  breeches,  white 
stockings,  and  a  sword.  lie  talked  incessant  >niall  talk. 

Lord  Lyndhurst  has  since  told  me  that  he  knew  then  of  the 
(<)ueeifs  refusal  to  part  with  her  ladies,  and  that  Lord  Mel- 
bourne's Ministr\  was  in  again.  I  observed  him  .serious,  but 
attributed  it  to  quite  the  opposite  cause  to  the  true  one. 

This  incident  caused  some  stir  at  the  time.  Sir 
Robert  Peel,  who  was  called  upon  to  form  a  new 
Government  upon  the  resignation  of  Lord  Melbourne's 
Ministry,  considered  that  in  the  case  of  a  reigning 
Queen,  as  distinguished  from  a  Queen  the  consort  of 
a  King,  the  Prime  Minister  could  not  have  due 
weight  with  the  Sovereign  unless  the  chief  ladies  of 
the  Household  (whose  near  male  relatives  belonged 
to  the  out-going  Government)  changed  with  the 
(.overnment.  Lord  Melbourne  thought  this  un- 
necessary. The  Queen  was  naturally  averse  to  it. 
The  Duke  of  Wellington  considered  that  it  was 
constitutionally  desirable,  a  view  not  popular  at  the 
time.  It  was  arranged  eventually  that  Lord  Mel- 
bourne's Ministry  should  resume  office. 

13th  June. — To-night  the  Canada  Bill  is  to  be  introduced, 
and  a  debate  will  take  place  at  which  I  cannot  he  present,  but 
it  will  not  be  the  discussion  which  will  determine  the  vote. 

\4>th  June. — I  went  in  the  morning  to  Mr.  Pakington,  and 
had  much  conversation  with  him  regarding  the  Clergy 
Reserves,  \c. 

\8th  June. — Sir  Peregrine  Maitland  with  me  to-day. 


286    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

19th  June. — Went  with  Emily,  Louisa,  and  William 
Boulton  to  Woolwich  and  Greenwich,  and  spent  a  pleasant 
day  seeing  the  sights  there. 

On  my  return  I  found  a  kind  note  from  the  Duke  of 
Wellington  asking  me  to  bring  Mrs.  Robinson  and  my  family 
to-morrow  at  four  o'clock  to  see  his  trophies,  &c.,  in  Apsley 
House.  The  Duke  also  asked  me  to  dine  with  him  that  day  at 
half-past  seven. 

20th  June. — At  four  o'clock  went  with  Emma,  William 
Boulton,  John,  Emily,  Augusta,  and  Louisa 1  to  Apsley  House. 
The  Duke  came  down  and  received  us,  and  most  kindly  showed 
us  over  his  house. 

The  table  for  our  dinner  to-night  was  set  out  with  his 
magnificent  service  of  plate  from  the  kingdom  of  Portugal,  and 
there  was  the  noble  golden  shield  and  candelabra  presented  by 
the  bankers  and  merchants  of  London. 

He  showed  us  his  paintings,  a  very  fine  Correggio,  "  Christ 
in  the  Garden,1'  which  he  says  is  one  of  the  finest,  if  not  the 
finest,  painting  in  England.  It  is  striking — a  small  picture. 

It  was  most  delightful  to  us  all  to  have  the  Duke  of  Welling- 
ton pointing  out  to  us  the  different  portraits  of  Buonaparte. 
My  little  ones  were  charmed. 

The  Duke  explained  to  us  how  embarrassing  the  Portuguese 
plate  had  been  to  him.  The  plateau  for  the  great  ornament 
was  so  large  that  he  had  first  to  make  a  table  for  it,  then 
a  room  to  hold  the  table,  and  to  get  this  room  he  had  to 
pull  down  the  park  front  of  his  house,  and  add  many  feet 
to  it.  "  Confound  the  plateau  "  (he  said),  "  it  cost  me  a  great 
deal  of  money." 

It  made  him  improve  his  house,  however.  It  is  now 
magnificent. 

About  thirty  dined.  I  sat  between  Lord  Maryboro'  and 
Lady  Fitz  Roy  Somerset,  his  daughter.  Lord  Maryboro'  I  had 
much  talk  with.  He  seems  a  stiff,  unbending  Conservative. 


1  These  were  my  mother,  William  Boulton,  of  the  Grange,  Toronto, 
my  brother  John  Beverley,  and  my  sisters  (afterwards  Mrs.  Lefroy,  Mrs. 
Strachan,  and  Mrs.  Allan). 


x  A  PS  LEY   HOUSE  287 

After  dinner  I  talked  with  the  Duchess  of  Richmond,  her 
son  the  Duke,  Lord  Fit/,  Hoy  Somerset,  and  the  Duke  of 
Wellington.  The  Duke  spoke  much  of  aiiairs  here  and  in 
Canada,  and  is  clear  and  impressive  in  all  he  says. 

%4>th  June. — Received  to-day  the  resolution  of  the  Legis- 
lative Council  of  Upper  Canada  requesting  me  to  "  represent 
generally  the  interests  of  the  proviiu 

C26th  Jum. — The  Lord  Mayor  and  Lady  Mayoress  called  for 
Mrs.  Robinson,  and  took   us   down  in  their  carriage  to  Rich- 
mond to  dine  with  the  "  Worshipful  Company  of  Cordwaii 
at  the  "Star  and  Garter"  at  three  o'clock.     \Ve  sat  down  to 
dinner  at  four,  a  large  party,  and  drove  hack  to  town  at  eight. 

SXth  June.  —  This  evening  Dr.  St.rachan  arrived  from 
Toronto.1 

This  morning  Mr.  Pakington  sent  me  the  Union  Rill, 
which  had  been  brought  in  and  printed  yesterday.  I  had  not 
seen  a  word  of  this  Rill  before. 

Sunday ,  JJ(V//  June. — Went  with  Dr.  Strachan,  after  church 
(at  Cur/on  Chapel),  to  call  on  Bishop  Inglis — not  at  home — 
and  on  Gillespie,  whom  we  saw.2 

I  dined  at  Lord  Wilton's,  7  Grosvenor  Square.  Old 
General  Alava,  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  Duchess  of  Beaufort, 
Lord  Jersey,  Lord  and  Lady  Lyndhurst,  Lord  Brougham,  Lord 
and  I^ady  Stanley,  Lord  and  Lady  Mahon.:: 

I  sat  between  the  Duke  of  Wellington  and  Lord  Mahon. 
We  had  much  conversation  about  Canada,  the  proposed  union, 
parties  here,  &c. 

Good  joke  of  Lord  Brougham's  when  some  one  said  that 
Lord  Glenelg,  when  he  did  work,  was  an  able  man.  "  When 
he  did  work  !  "  said  Brougham  ;  "  that  reminds  me  of  what 
I  once  read  in  some  natural  history  book,  that  when  an  ox 
docs  give  milk,  he  gives  more  than  two  cows." 


1  Dr.  Strachau  had  come  to  England  to  be  consecrated  as  the  first 
Hi>hop  of  Toronto,  and  returned  to  Canada  in  the  autumn. 

-  Hishop  Inglis  was  the  first  Bishop  of  Nova  Scotia —consecrated  1827. 
Mr.  Gillespie  was  probably  from  Montreal. 

3  Afterwards  Karl  Stanhope,  author  of  "  Conversations  with  the  Duke 
of  Wellington  "  (1889). 


288    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Sydney  Smith  saying,  when  Landseer  proposed  to  make 
a  portrait  of  him,  "  Is  thy  servant  a  dog  ?  " 

\st  July. — Sir  Francis  Head  called.  I  received  a  satisfac- 
tory note  from  Sir  W.  Follett l  at  Brighton,  respecting  the 
American  invaders.  He  quite  agrees  with  me. 

%nd  July. — I  called  on  Lord  Lyndhurst,  and  had  a  conver- 
sation respecting  the  legal  point  about  the  American  invaders. 
He  is  to  show  the  draft  of  my  letter  to  him  to  Brougham,  and 
converse  with  him  upon  it. 

He  inclines,  though  not  confidently,  to  the  opinion  that  the 
invaders  of  Point  Pele  Island  might  be  prosecuted  for  murder. 

In  the  evening  I  went  to  the  House  of  Lords  to  hear  the 
debate  on  the  Jamaica  Bill  in  Committee.  Lord  Lyndhurst 
began  the  discussion.  Lord  Brougham  spoke,  also  Lords 
Normanby,  Melbourne,  Glenelg,  Mansfield,  St.  Vincent,  Sea- 
forth,  and  Ellenborough.  Lord  Melbourne  hesitates  extremely. 
None  of  the  Bishops  spoke.  Daniel  Webster  was  there.2 

3rd  July.— Breakfasted  with  Sir  Robert  Inglis— Sir  R.  W. 
Horton,  Archdeacon  Strachan,  the  Dean  of  Christ  Church,  his 
son,  and  W.  Boulton  were  of  the  party.  We  had  much  talk 
about  emigration. 

At  half-past  five  I  went  to  Lord  Normanby  by  appoint- 
ment. 

We  spoke  of  the  Union  Bill.  I  tpld__him_jthat  the  five 
inferior  legislatures  3  were  not  wanted  in  Upper  Canada,  and 
would  be  mischievous  there  and  everywhere  ;  that  they  were 
un-English,  and  would  plunge  us  into  a  perpetual  round  of 
elections  ;  and  that,  besides  this,  a  power  to  tax  without  limit 
was  not  to  be  trusted  to  a  single  body  chosen  annually. 

He  seemed  to  agree  in  all. 

I  then  spoke  of  the  Welland  Canal  Reserved  Bill,  and  was 
speaking  of  the  finances  of  Upper  Canada  when  Lord  John 
Russell  came  in,  and  entered  into  conversation  with  me  on 


1  The  Solicitor-General. 

2  The  well-known  American  statesman. 

3  Refers  to  the  "  Elective  Councils  "  which  it  was  intended  to  have 
in  each  of  the  five  proposed  districts  (see  chap.  ix.).     These  were  after- 
wards withdrawn  from  the  Bill. 


x          THE   AMERICAN    INVADERS  289 

various  points,  but  particularly  as  regarded  the  American 
prisoners,  and  he  intimated  that  it  was  in  contemplation  to  let 
them  go,  on  the  undertaking  not  to  return  to  America.  I  told 
him  that,  as  to  their  not  going  to  Canada,  if  that  were  made  a 
condition  of  their  pardon,  it  could  be  enforced,  but  that  the 
other  could  not  ;  that  it  was  wrong  to  have  left  the  colony  to 
punish  them  as  if  their  offence  was  only  against  the  municipal 
laws  of  Upper  Canada  ;  that  they  should  have  been  at  once 
taught  that  their  offence  was  against  the  British  Crown,  and  I 
referred  to  my  letter  of  29th  March  to  Lord  Normanby  on  this 
head. 

During  July  and  August  1839  my  father  and  all 
his  party  were  much  at  Highlands  with  the  Merrys, 
and  at  Brighton  (47  Old  Steyne),  but  he  very 
frequently  came  up  to  town  upon  business.  At 
Brighton  he  occasionally  saw  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland, 
who  was  staying  there. 


July.  —  I  had  some  conversation  with  Lord  Brougham 
about  the  opinion  he  had  given  in  debate.  He  denied  that  he 
had  been  correctly  reported,  but  still  said  he  was  not  prepared 
to  admit  that  it  was  not  treason  in  any  foreigner  coming  in 
peace  to  make  war  in  Upper  Canada. 

He  had  read  my  letter  to  Lord  Lyndhurst. 

3rd  August.  —  Went  to  consult  Dr.  Prout.  At  12  o'clock 
called  on  the  Duke  of  Wellington. 

He  spoke  a  great  deal  of  our  canals  and  defences,  and  asked 
me  to  go  and  see  him  at  Walmer1  when  the  session  was 
over. 

I  had  Dr.  Strachan  to  dinner  with  me  at  Spring  Gardens 
Hotel.  In  the  evening  we  went  to  a  soiree  at  Campbell's 
("  Pleasures  of  Hope  ")  at  61  Lincoln's  Inn.  We  had  about 
fifteen  persons,  much  talk,  tea  and  coifee,  then  a  cloth  laid  and 
some  supper,  cold  chicken,  &c.,  and  then  a  tureen  of  punch. 


1  He  afterwards  visited  the  Duke,  not  at  Walmer,  but  at  Strathfield- 
saye  (see  page  29.'*). 

T 


290    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

We  came  away  at  half-past  twelve,  and  left  all  the  others 
there. 

Campbell  is  lamentably  altered  in  appearance,  but  full 
of  wit. 

He  proposed  to  drink  "  to  the  memory  of  Archdeacon 
Strachan,"  who  was  to  be  consecrated  Bishop  to-morrow. 
"  Come,  come,"  he  said,  "  Doctor,  don't  go  away,  you're  not 
a  seceder,  you're  a  churchman.1" 

Sunday,  4<th  August. — At  11,  went  with  Dr.  Strachan  and 
Mr.  Wilder  of  the  Colonial  Office  to  be  present  at  the  con- 
secration of  the  Doctor  to  be  Bishop  of  Toronto,  and  of  Dr. 
Spencer  (Aubrey  John),  as  first  Bishop  of  Newfoundland  and 
Bermuda. 

It  was  a  very  imposing  ceremony  in  the  Chapel  of  Lambeth 
Palace. 

The  two  Bishops  were  presented  to  the  Archbishop  by  the 
Bishop  of  Chichester  for  consecration.  Their  patents  were  then 
read.  Then  the  Archbishop  proceeded  with  the  Consecration 
Service,  the  Bishops  of  London,  Chichester,  and  Nova  Scotia 
assisting. 

We  all  dined  in  the  Palace,  the  new  Bishops  sitting  one  on 
each  side  of  the  Archbishop.  Each  Bishop  brings  with  him 
two  guests.  The  entertainment  was  magnificent,  and  great 
state  observed. 

We  then  walked  round  the  gardens  of  the  Palace,  about 
thirty  acres,  and  were  shown  the  library. 

It  was  singular  that,  without  concert,  I,  being  Chief-Justice 
of  Upper  Canada,  should  be  present  here  in  London,  at  the 
consecration  of  my  old  master  as  Bishop. 

We  thought  little  of  this  at  Cornwall  in  1806. 

At  this  time,  while  my  father  was  at  Brighton,  Dr. 
Prout,  Sir  Benjamin  Brodie,  and  Dr.  (afterwards  Sir 
Henry)  Holland,  all  of  whom  had  attended  him 
medically  at  various  periods,  recommended  that,  on 
account  of  his  health,  which  was  not  thoroughly  re- 
established, he  should  not  risk  a  winter  voyage  to 
Canada. 


x  EXTENSION    OF   LEAVE  291 

He  received  also  from  Sir  George  Arthur  in 
Canada  the  copy  of  a  private  letter  kindly  written  by 
him  to  Lord  Normanby,  then  Secretary  of  State, 
respecting  the  extension  of  his  leave — of  which  the 
following  is  an  extract : — 

GOVERNMENT  HOUSE, 
TORONTO,  29/A  July,  1839. 

...  It  would  not  be  proper  in  me  to  say  that  Mr.  Robin- 
son's continued  absence  from  this  province  is  a  matter  of  small 
moment,  for  I  think  very  differently  ;  but  I  have  intimated  to 
his  family  that  if  his  health  be  not  perfectly  re-e.stablished,  it 
will  be  much  better  that  he  should  apply  for  an  extension  of 
leave  than  that  he  should  return  as  an  invalid,  with  the  proba- 
bility of  being  again  obliged  to  revisit  England  on  account  of 
his  health. 

Whilst  the  affairs  of  Canada  have  been  under  consideration 
I  have  felt  satisfied  that  Mr.  Robinson  might  be  useful  in 
England,  for  although  I  know  he  differed  wholly  from  the 
opinions  of  the  Earl  of  Durham,  yet  if  measures  were  deter- 
mined on  by  her  Majesty's  Government,  however  contrary 
they  might  be  to  Mr.  Robinson's  judgment,  I  entertain  that 
high  notion  of  his  character  as  to  feel  confident  that  he  would 
endeavour  to  give  all  the  information  in  his  power,  and  offer 
such  suggestions  as  would  make  the  measures  in  question  as 
perfect  as  possible. 

The  position  which  Mr.  Robinson  has  long  held  in  this 
province  is  a  most  important  one.  He  is  regarded  with  a  kind 
of  reverence  by  all  the  old  Canadian  party ;  with  a  most 
uncalled-for  and  most  unjustifiable  jealousy  by  some  individuals 
— but,  by  all,  with  more  esteem  and  respect  for  his  abilities, 
and  with  more  regard  for  his  virtues  than  any  other  person,  as 
I  believe,  in  either  of  the  provinces. 

At  the  present  crisis  there  is  certainly  no  person  more 
capable  of  assisting  in  settling  the  great  questions  connected 
with  the  Canadas,  for  whilst  his  high  monarchical  principles 
are  universally  known,  he  is  opposed  to  all  extreme  measures, 
and  is  tolerant  in  his  religious  views. 


292    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

This  led  to  his  eventually  obtaining  a  further 
extension  of  leave,  upon  medical  grounds,  until  the 
following  spring,  and  he  arranged  to  take  a  house  at 
Wandsworth  up  to  31st  March,  and  sail  for  Canada 
in  the  first  week  of  April. 

He  now  spent  some  six  weeks  in  Paris  with  my 
mother  and  his  family ;  and  from  hence  my  brother 
John,  then  with  them,  returned  to  Canada,  sailing 
from  Portsmouth  in  the  ship  Toronto. 

Writing  to  his  brother  William  from  Bridgefield 
Cottage,  Wandsworth,  on  the  13th  November  1839, 
my  father  says  : — 

Nothing  could  be  pleasanter  than  my  situation  here.  I  am 
four  miles  out  of  town  in  a  very  comfortable  house,  with  a 
garden  and  grounds  about  the  size  of  ours  in  Toronto. 

I  see  no  one  scarcely,  being  out  of  the  way,  and  therefore 
am  not  interrupted  ;  and  when  I  wish  to  go  to  town  there  are 
many  public  conveyances  passing.  I  see  the  doctor  now  and 
then,  and  can  in  all  things  as  to  air,  exercise,  &c.,  consult  my 
health,  which  I  trust  is  permanently  benefiting  by  it.  Clarke 
Gamble  has  laid  us  all  under  great  obligations  by  his  attention 
in  writing.  His  letters  are  most  welcome.  They  tell  us  all  we 
wish  to  know,  and  furnish  occasion  for  many  a  hearty  laugh.1 

He  now  set  to  work  steadily  at  "  Canada  and  the 
Canada  Bill,"  embodying  his  examination  of  the 
Union  Bill  of  June  1839,  and  was  only  occasionally 
up  in  town. 


1  Mr.  Joseph  Clarke  Gamble,  K.C.  (my  godfather),,  a  link  with  the 
early  days  of  Canada,  died  very  recently  (28th  November  1902)  in  Toronto 
at  the  age  of  94. 


CHAPTER   XI 

JOURNAL  AND  CORRESPONDENCE  IN  ENGLAND 
DECEMBER  1839  TO  APRIL  1840 

Visit  to  Duke  of  tt'Yllington  at  Strathneldsaye—  Dickens  :    Macaulay— 
Beverley  House:  Mr.  Poulett-Thompson     The  Queen's  marriage—  The 
Spectator  »B  to  intrigues  against  theCiovernment  policy  —  Resolution  of 
Legislative  (  onncil,  Upper  Canada-  -The  Canada  Club      .Meeting  of 
Niriety  for  Propagation  of  Uospel  —  Mr.  \\  .  E.  (Gladstone  —  Return  to 
Canada  preyed      Interview  with  Ix>rd  J.  Russell  —  Archbishop  of(  an 
terburyand  Clergy  Reserves  —  Duke  of  Wellington  as  to  his  pamphlet. 
&c.  —  Farewell  let  fer*  and  interviews     Sir  R.  Inglis,Sir  R.  Peel,  Duke 
of  Wellington,   Lord   Lyndhurst,  Sir  F.  Head—  Meeting  of  S.F.G. 
Embarks  for  New  York—  Return  to  Toronto—  Address  of  inhabitants. 

ON  the  llth  December  1839  my  father  was  invited 
by  the  Duke  of  Wellington  to  visit  him  at  Strath- 
fieldsaye,  and  writes  to  my  mother  :— 

STRATHFIKLDSAYE, 

15th  DwinbiT  1839. 


I  write  to  you,  not  to  quiet  your  alarms  on  account  of  my 
formidable  journey,  but  because  I  think  you  ought  to  have  a 
letter  from  me,  however  short,  written  from  Strathfieldsaye. 

I  left  London  at  two  o'clock,  and  arrived  here  a  little  before 
six.  Lord  Seaton  and  his  son,  intending  to  come  by  the  other 
railroad,  were  five  minutes  too  late,  and  had,  in  consequence, 
to  post  it  down,  and  with  difficulty  reached  us  in  time  to  dress 
for  dinner. 

The  Duke  showed  me  into  my  bedroom,  the  walls  of  which 
are  wholly  covered  with  a  series  of  paintings  exhibiting  the 
coronation  ceremony  of  George  IV. 

I  found  Lord  and  Lady  Georgiana  de  Ros  both  agreeable 
people,  and  she  particularly  so.  She  would  remind  you  con- 
stantly of  her  sister  Lady  Sarah.1 

1  Lady  Sarah  Maitland,  wife  of  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland. 

293 


294    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Colonel  Gurwood l  is  here,  and  my  old  friend  Mr. 
Arbuthnot,  and  we  have  some  county  people  to  dinner. 

The  Duke,  I  am  happy  to  say,  is  in  excellent  health  and 
spirits,  and  he  certainly  does  the  honours  of  his  house  to 
admiration. 

It  was  interesting  to  see  the  Duke  and  Sir  J.  Colborne 
(Lord  Seaton)  meet:  it  must  have  revived  a  recollection  of 
stirring  scenes. 

In  his  Journal  also  he  says  : — 

I  found  the  Duke  cheerful  and  well,  and  he  says  he  never  was 
better  ;  very  animated  and  amusing.  I  perceive  only,  I  think, 
increased  misgovernment  of  his  voice  in  speaking. 

After  dinner  I  had  much  conversation  with  him  alone — 
probably  more  than  an  hour — upon  the  affairs  of  Canada  and 
the  Colonies  and  on  politics  here. 

He  said,  "It  is  Upper  Canada  that  wants  strengthening, 
and  so  I  told  the  Ministers.  Make  all  right  there,  and  you  are 
safe — but  if  you  lose  that,  you  lose  all  your  Colonies  in  that 
country,  and  if  you  lose  them,  you  may  as  well  lose  London." 

...  I  asked  him  how  it  happened  that  the  French  mobs 
generally  resisted  the  troops  so  much  more  than  an  English 
mob — as,  for  instance,  comparing  the  three  days  in  July  with 
the  Newport  Rebellion.  "Was  it  because  so  many  of  the 
people  were  drilled  as  members  of  the  National  Guard?"" 
He  said,  "  There  is  something  in  that,  but  that's  not  the  chief 
reason.  An  Englishman  has  a  great  dread  of  going  against 
the  laws :  and  then,  on  the  other  hand,  an  English  officer  or 
soldier  has  never  any  hesitation  in  doing  his  duty,  when  he 
knows  he  has  the  law  with  him.  He  sees  his  whole  danger. 
A  French  soldier  can't  rely  upon  the  law  protecting  him. 
He  is  obliged  to  think,  Is  the  National  Guard  right  ?  Is  the 
Army  with  us  ?  Is  the  Nation  with  us  ?  Because,  if  not,  the 
laws  can't  protect  him.  He  has  nothing  to  trust  to." 

We  went  to  church  on  Sunday — a  nice  little  parish  church, 
the  Duke's  pew  most  comfortable,  a  little  stove  in  it,  heated 


1  Who  edited  the  Wellington  Despatches. 


xi       VISIT   TO    STRATHFIELDSAVE       295 

by  wood,  which  he  kept  supplying  pretty  liberally.  Pipes 
overhead,  as  in  Canada.  Lady  de  Ros  told  me  the  Duke 
seems  quite  regardless  of  the  usual  consequence  of  the  heat 
overhead. 

19^  December  1839.— I  dined  with  Sir  Robert  Inglis,  and 
met  there  Mr.  Thomas  Babington  Macaulay,  Dr.  Lushington 
the  Vice-Chancellor,  Lady  Raffles,  Sir  George  Whitmore,  and 
several  others  whose  names  I  did  not  know.  Next  me  sat 
"Boz,"  the  author  of  "Pickwick,"  with  whom  I  had  much 
conversation  after  dinner.  He  is  a  young  man,  animated  and 
agreeable. 

In  the  evening  there  was  a  conversazione.  Literary  men, 
artists,  lawyers,  &c.  I  could  not  stay  long,  as  I  had  to  return 
to  Wands  worth.  Before  I  left  I  met  Sir  Astley  Cooper,  Sir 
Martin  Shea,  the  United  States  Ambassador,  Sir  Nicholas 
Tindal,  Baron  Gurney,  Serjeants  Talfourd  and  Adams,  West- 
macott,  and  others. 

Macaulay  is  a  great  talker  and  has  a  prodigious  memory, 
clear  and  circumstantial  as  to  facts  and  dates. 

2nd  January,  1840. — I  went  to  Cheltenham  for  a  fortnight, 
having,  since  19th  December,  several  times  seen  Lord  Seaton, 
and  having  sent  to  Sir  Robert  Peel  my  two  letters  of  9th  and 

2!)th  March  last. 

Here  it  may  be  mentioned  that  while  he  was 
in  England  engaged  upon  "  Canada  and  the  Canada 
Hill"  his  house  in  Toronto  (Beverley  House)  was  let 
to  the  Governor-General  of  Canada,  Mr.  Poulett- 
Thompson  (afterwards  Lord  Sydenham),  and  thus 
became  the  headquarters  of  a  recognised  warm  sup- 
porter of  the  Union  measure,  who  entertained  most 
hospitably  in  it. 

Mr.  Robert  Stanton  writes  from  Toronto  on  12th 
December  1839  :— 

If  you  could  pop  in  upon  us  suddenly  how  much  surprised 
you  would  be,  on  walking  up  to  your  house,  to  find  it  in  the 
full  glare  of  lights,  and  with  two  sentries  posted  in  front. 


296    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

And  Mr.  John  Macaulay,  on  21st  January 
1840  :- 

It  seems  odd  enough  to  me  to  sit  in  the  aide-de-camp's 
room  in  rear  of  your  own  study,  and  there  see  Captain  Le 
Marchant  occupied  in  transcribing  the  draft  of  the  new  Con- 
stitution under  the  union  !  What  a  changeful  world  we 
live  in.1 

Journal  continued. 

liOth  February. — The  Queen  married — a  rainy  day.  The 
Duke  of  Wellington  not  invited,  nor  any  of  the  great  nobility 
or  foreign  Ministers,  either  to  the  breakfast  or  banquet  in  the 
evening.  It  seems  strange.  No  illumination  or  sign  of  rejoic- 
ing around  us. 

The  above  entry  is  of  interest.  It  gives,  of 
course,  only  my  father's  impressions  from  what  he 
saw  immediately  around  him  at  Wandsworth,  and 
heard  in  conversation  at  the  time ;  but  a  reference 
to  the  journals  of  the  day  shows  that,  even  in  London 
itself,  the  illuminations  were  not  of  a  general  or  very 
brilliant  character. 

The  Times  says  that  they  were  by  no  means  so 
good  as  at  the  coronation,  and  were  principally  exhi- 
bited at  the  club-houses,  Government  offices,  and 
residences  of  those  connected  with  the  Court  and 
Palace ;  and  that  the  crowd  in  the  streets  was  not 
so  great  as  on  other  public  occasions. 

The  Morning  Chronicle  says  that  the  city  was 
"  charily  lighted,"  that  Oxford  Street  and  the  City 
Road  exhibited  a  "beggarly  amount,"  and  that 
"  many  noblemen  and  gentlemen  did  not  exhibit/' 

1  With  reference  to  this  occupation  of  Beverley  House  in  the  interests 
of  the  Union,  it  is  said  in  Mr.  Robertson's  "Landmarks  of  Toronto"  that 
Mr.  Thompson  put  up  a  new  kitchen  range  in  the  house ;  and  the  remark 
is  amusingly  added,  "This  was,  it  is  said,  the  indirect  cause  of  getting 
the  union  measure  through  the  Upper  Canada  Parliament/' 


I 


xi  THE   QUEEN'S   MARRIAGE          297 

With  respect  to  the  omission  of  the  Duke  of 
Wellington  from  the  breakfast  and  banquet — which, 
under  the  exceptional  nature  of  his  services  to  the 
State,  created  surprise — an  explanation  from  one  of 
the  Court  appeared  in  the  press,  that,  as  he  was  out 
of  office,  and  as  only  certain  members  of  royal 
families,  with  their  suites,  leading  Cabinet  Ministers, 
and  the  Bishops  who  had  performed  the  marriage 
ceremony,  &c.,  could  be  included  among  the  numbers 
invited,  he  was  necessarily  not  so. 

Nothing,  though,  could  better  illustrate  the  change 
of  public  feeling  in  England  within  the  last  century, 
due,  no  doubt,  largely  to  the  two  royal  personages, 
the  Queen  and  the  Prince  Consort,  married  at  this 
time,  than  the  above  entiy,  and  that  in  chapter  v., 
previously  given,  referring  to  the  opening  of  Parlia- 
ment on  January  28,  1817. 

Journal  continued. 

6th  March. — Went  to  Court  with  Lukin,  and  was  presented 
by  Lord  John  Russell. 

10th  March. — I  saw  the  Duke  of  Wellington  at  Apsley 
House.  He  was  in  good  health  and  spirits,  but  altered  in 
appearance  since  I  last  met  him. 

He  spoke  very  clearly  and  most  sensibly  on  the  subject 
of  Canada,  and  asked  me  if  I  had  seen  the  Spectator  of  the 
Sunday  before.  He  said  I  ought  to  see  it,  as  it  contained 
some  remarks  about  me  and  my  supposed  connection  with 
Lord  Lyndhurst. 

My  father  alludes  no  further  to  this  article  in 
the  Spectator,  but  having  looked  at  it,  I  give  these 
extracts  from  it : — 

Lord   Lyndhurst,   we  are  credibly  informed,  is  once  more 


298    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

busy  with  Canadian  politics,  but  he  does  not  trust  to  his  own 
knowledge  of  the  subject ;  he  is  said  to  derive  information  and 
counsel  from  Mr.  Robinson,  Chief- Justice  of  Upper  Canada.  It 
is  scarcely  to  be  doubted  that,  however  different  their  motives, 
they  will  conspire  to  defeat  the  measures  of  the  union  to  which 
the  Government  is  pledged.  How  the  former  is  allowed  to 
remain  year  after  year  absent  from  his  Colonial  post,  for 
the  purpose  of  intriguing  against  the  Government,  it  passes 
ordinary  comprehensions  to  understand. 

It  must  have  been  about  this  time  that  he  re- 
ceived the  following  resolution  of  the  Legislative 
Council  of  Upper  Canada,  passed  the  last  day  of 
the  last  Parliament  of  that  province : — 

Wth  February  i<34^ 

The  members  of  this  House,  before  separating  at  the  close 
of  probably  their  last  session,  desire  to  express  their  regret 
that  indisposition  should  have  caused  the  prolonged  absence 
of  the  Hon.  Mr.  Robinson  from  his  seat  in  this  House,  and 
they  unite  in  the  hope  that  he  will  speedily  be  restored  to  the 
country  to  pursue  with  renovated  health  and  strength  that 
laborious  and  distinguished  career  which  has  been  so  fruitful 
of  honour  to  himself  and  of  benefit  to  his  fellow-subjects. 

Journal  continued. 

13th  March. — I  dined  at  the  Canada  Club.  Sir  James 
Stirling,  who  founded  the  colony  of  Swan  River,  was  there, 
and  his  father,  who  accompanied  General  Gore  to  Detroit 
in  1808;  also  Mr.  M'Kenzie  and  Mr.  Lockhart,  M.P.'s. 

I  went  (on  the  same  day)  to  the  Committee  of  the  Society 
for  Propagating  the  Gospel,  having  been  requested  to  do  so  by 
note  received  on  Saturday.  The  Bishop  of  Salisbury  (Denison) 
was  in  the  chair.  The  Bishop  of  Nova  Scotia l  was  also  there, 
and  five  or  six  others.  I  was  able  to  attend  an  adjourned 


Bishop  Inglis. 


i 


xi     RETURN   TO   CANADA   PRESSED     299 

meeting  (on  the  15th).  The  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  was  in 
the  chair. 

The  committee  resolved  to  memorialise  the  Government 
against  the  Clergy  Reserves  Bill,  but  I  suggested  that  it  should 
be  first  ascertained  whether  any  such  interference  would  be 
necessary ;  because,  if  not,  it  had  better  be  forborne ;  that 
perhaps  the  Government  would  tell  them  that  they  did  not 
intend  to  support  the  Bill. 

Mr.  Pakington  attended  the  meeting,  and  Mr.  Gladstone1 
came  when  it  was  just  over.  I  was  introduced  to  him,  and  had 
some  conversation  with  him.  He  is  an  intelligent  and  interest- 
ing-looking person. 

The  time  had  now  arrived  when  my  father's 
return  to  Canada  was  being  strongly  pressed  in  more 
than  one  quarter. 

On  the  6th  March  Mr.  Hume 2  asked  in  the  House 
of  Commons  how  long  he  had  been  away  from  his 
duties,  and  on  the  17th  March  Mr.  Leader,  M.I'., 
put  a  question  to  the  same  effect. 

It  need  not  be  a  matter  of  surprise  that  by  some 
of  those  interested  in  the  passage  of  the  Union  Bill 
a  pressure  was  brought  upon  the  Government  that 
facilities  to  remain  longer  in  England  should  not  be 
afforded  to  one  who  had  so  openly  spoken  and 
written  against  it ;  and  it  must  be  added  in  fairness 
that  it  could  be  now  reasonably  urged  that  he  had 
been  some  time  absent  from  important  judicial  duties. 

As  far  as  he  himself  was  concerned,  his  interest 
in  the  question  of  the  union  would  have  made  him 
glad  in  some  respects  to  remain  until  the  measure 
had  been  finally  settled. 

Many  in  public  and   private   positions    on    both 

1  Mr.  W.  E.  Gladstone,  afterwards  Prime  Minister. 

Mr.  Joseph  Hume,  M.P.,  a  leader  of  the  Radical  party  in  the 
House  of  Commons  ;  died  1855. 


300    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

sides  of  the  Atlantic,  whose  opinions  he  valued, 
were  pressing  upon  him  that  by  his  presence  in 
England  when  the  principles  and  details  of  the  Bill 
were  being  dealt  with,  he  could  now  render  a  greater 
service  to  Canada  than  he  could  in  any  position  if  in 
Canada  itself. 

On  the  other  hand,  he  was  anxious  to  resume  his 
post.  It  was  distasteful  to  him  to  have  his  motives 
in  not  returning  to  it  earlier  occasionally  miscon- 
strued. His  health,  though  not  entirely  restored, 
had  improved  ;  and  most  of  what  he  had  thought 
it  necessary  to  urge  against  the  Union  Bill  had 
been  made  public. 

On  the  27th  February  he  had  written  to  Dr. 
Strachan : — "  I  long  to  be  again  at  my  own  proper 
work,  and  have  been,  indeed,  for  some  time  employed 
in  framing  a  body  of  rules  for  our  Court." 

On  the  19th  March  he  had  an  interview  by 
appointment  with  Lord  John  Russell,  who  had 
before  this  informed  him  that,  in  advices  from  Upper 
Canada,  the  Governor-General  had  urged  very 
strongly  the  inconvenience  caused  by  his  protracted 
absence. 

Alluding  to  this  interview,  my  father  says  in  his 
Journal : — 

After  some  general  remarks  he  told  me  in  an  embarrassed 
way  that  he  thought  it  right  to  mention  to  me  that  he  had 
heard  through  various  quarters,  and  indeed  from  Canada  as 
well  as  here,  that  I  was  concerting  measures  to  oppose  the 
plans  of  the  Government;  that  I  was  in  concert  with  Lord 
Lyndhurst  in  particular  and  with  others;  and  he  intimated 
that  that  would  not  be  a  fair  proceeding  on  my  part. 

I  heard  him  patiently  through,  and  then  said  that  I  could 
not  know  what  his  Lordship  had  heard,  or  from  whom,  but 


xi  LORD   JOHN    RUSSELL  301 

that  I  was  much  obliged  by  his  speaking  to  me  openly  on  the 
point.    .    .    . 

That  if  it  was  supposed  that  I  sought  any  person  for  the 
purpose  of  concerting  with  him  a  plan  of  proceeding  to  oppose 
the     Government,    I    could    only    say    the    supposition 
groundlc 

That  I  had  undoubtedly  stated  as  freely  to  those  who  are 
called  Conservatives  as  to  the  Government  the  objections  which 
I  had  to  the  union,  and,  in  order  that  there  might  be  no 
doubt  as  to  these  opinions  and  statements,  I  had  published  the 
small  volume  I  had,  which  contained  all  I  had  to  say;  and  one 
chief  point  I  had  in  publishing  it  was  that  the  Government 
might  read  all  that  I  was  in  the  constant  habit  of  expressing  to 
others.  .  .  .  That  as  to  Lord  Lyndhurst,  I  had  known  him  for 
twenty  years,  and  had  never  been  in  England  without  receiving 
kind  attention  from  him  ;  and  that,  in  any  conversation  with 
him  respecting  the  union,  I  had  spoken  as  unreservedly  as  to 
others.  .  .  . 

I  told  him  that  I  had  no  more  idea  what  the  opponents  of 
the  Government  had  decided  to  do  in  respect  to  the  union,  or 
whether  they  had  determined  upon  anything,  than  if  I  had 
been  all  the  time  in  Canada  ;  that  if  they  had  resolved  on  a 
certain  course  and  had  told  me  of  it,  I  could  not  have  men- 
tioned it,  but  that  the  truth  really  was  that  they  had  not,  and 
that  I  had  asked  them  no  questions. 

Lord  John  then  said  that  he  agreed  perfectly  in  what  I 
said ;  and  he  repeated  that  he  found  no  fault  whatever  with  me 
for  publishing  the  book  I  had ;  that  he  thought  that  quite 
fair ;  and  he  declared  that  he  also  admitted  that  what  I  had 
just  said  besides  was  reasonable  and  correct. 

He  then  entered  into  a  long  discussion  of  the  union  and 
Clergy  Reserves  in  a  friendly  strain.  I  was  with  him  two 
hours.  He  did  not  offer  to  show  me  any  Bill,  but  said  it  was 
not  finished — that  there  were  certain  legal  questions  to  be  con- 
sidered, which  were  before  the  law  officers. 

I  spoke  strongly  against  the  union,  and  told  him  I  was 
quite  sure  that  it  would  not  be  many  years  before  they  would 
have  a  House  of  Assembly  as  unreasonable  and  as  pertinacious 


302    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

as  any  there  had  been  in  Lower  Canada,  and  that  they  would 
equally  decline  to  act  under  their  Constitution. 

He  remarked  that  the  Legislative  Council  could  be  so  con- 
stituted as  to  be  some  check.  I  said  :  "  Yes,  but  we  see  that 
as  soon  as  it  proves  itself  to  be  an  effective  check,  an  im- 
patience is  felt  to  remodel  it,  so  as  to  make  it  agreeable  to  the 
Assembly."  .  .  . 

At  the  conclusion  I  again  thanked  him  for  speaking  to  me 
as  he  had  done  in  the  first  part  of  our  interview,  and  added 
that  I  must  beg  to  repeat  that  I  felt  myself  perfectly  at  liberty 
to  say  unreservedly  to  any  one  what  I  thought  of  the  public 
measures  proposed. 

He  said,  "  Oh  certainly,  that  cannot  be  objected  to,"  and 
we  parted,  apparently  on  cordial  terms,  but  he  volunteered  no 
particular  statement  of  the  objects  of  the  Bill  or  its  clauses, 
further  than  to  say  that  it  really  contained  little  but  the 
principle  of  the  union ;  and  that,  as  I  objected  to  that,  he  did 
not  see  that  I  could  give  assistance  to  them. 

23rd  March. — I  went  and  heard  the  debate  about  Canada 
with  Lukin.  This  was  the  first  knowledge  I  obtained  of  the 
details  of  the  intended  measure. 

I  may  here  mention  that  my  brother  Lukin 
remained  for  some  time  in  England,  and  became, 
while  there,  a  barrister  of  the  Middle  Temple. 

Mr.  Justice  Patteson1  had  recommended  Mr. 
Edmund  Badeley,  afterwards  a  well-known  ecclesias- 
tical lawyer,  as  a  special  pleader  for  him  to  read  with, 
and  the  latter  writes  to  my  father,  20th  August 
1840  :- 

You  have  probably  heard  of  Lord  Chief- Justice  TindaFs 2 
kindness  in  taking  your  son  with  him  as  his  marshal  on  the 
Midland  circuit.  Independently  of  the  fees  to  which  he  is 

1  Sir  John  Patteson,  Justice  of  the  Queen's  Bench,  1830-52,  uncle  of 
the  present  Postmaster  of  Toronto.  Died  1861. 

'2  Sir  Nicholas  Tindal,  Chief-Justice,  Court  of  Common  Pleas.  Died 
1846. 


xi  LORD   JOHN    RUSSELL  303 

entitled,  he  has  the  opportunity  of  seeing  the  forms  and  modes 
of  trial,  and  the  civil  and  criminal  business  of  our  Courts.  As 
he  is  the  constant  companion  of  the  Chief- Justice,  as  well  as  of 
the  other  judges  during  the  whole  circuit,  living  ami  travelling 
with  him,  he  has  the  benefit  of  free  communication  with  him, 
and  of  receiving  from  day  to  day  the  most  valuable  information 
and  advice. 

As  far  as  I  can  judge,  I  should  say  that  he  is  very  well 
prepared  to  profit  by  all  that  he  will  see  of  business,  in  my 
chambers  and  elsewhere. 

On  the  24th  March  my  father  received  the  follow- 
ing from  one  of  the  Under  Secretaries  of  State  for  the 
Colonies,  dated  23rd  March  1840:— 

I  am  directed  by  Lord  John  Russell  to  inform  you  that  the 
anxiety  which  his  Lordship  entertained  regarding  your  pro- 
tracted absence  from  Upper  Canada,  on  receiving  the  repre- 
sentations on  that  subject  from  the  Governor-General,  which 
were  made  known  to  you  in  my  letter  of  the  5th  February,  has 
been  enhanced  by  the  repeated  remonstrances  which  have  been 
made  respecting  your  absence  by  members  of  the  House  of 
Commons  in  their  places  in  that  House. 

The  letter  went  on  to  desire  information  as  to 
the  exact  date  on  which  the  vessel  conveying  him 
to  Canada  was  to  sail,  and  concluded  with  an  inti- 
mation that  under  no  circumstances  could  a  further 
prolongation  of  his  leave  be  granted. 

About  this  time  he  had  the  satisfaction  of 
receiving  from  Mr.  Arbuthnot  the  following  letter 
referring  to  his  pamphlet,  "  Canada  and  the  Canada 
Bill "  :- 

APSLEY  HOUSE,  23rd  March  1840. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — .  .  .  With  regard  to  your  pamphlet,  of 
which  you  desired  to  have  my  opinion,  I  think  it  will  be  far 
more  worth  your  while  to  know  the  Duke's  opinion  of  it.  He 


304    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

has  over  and  over  again  said  to  me  that  a  work  of  greater 
ability  he  has  never  read.  You  will  hardly  want  to  know  what 
I  think  after  giving  you  the  Duke's  opinion.  If  the  union 
takes  place,  we  run  the  almost  certain  risk  of  losing  those  most 
important  provinces  ;  and  in  losing  them,  we  should  lose  the 
right  arm  of  the  naval  preponderance  of  England.  I  am  very 
sorry  you  will  not  be  here  when  the  Bill  is  discussed.  —  Believe 
me,  my  dear  sir,  ever  most  truly  yours,  CH.  ARBUTHNOT. 


March.  —  I  saw  the  Duke  again  to-day,  at  his  request, 
from  ten  to  eleven.  He  discussed  the  Clergy  Reserves  question, 
and  the  Union  Bill  clearly  and  most  satisfactorily.  I  saw  also 
the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  and  had  a  long  conversation 
with  him  on  the  Clergy  Reserves,  and  with  the  Bishop  of 
Exeter. 

%nd  April.  —  This  morning  I  received  a  note,  brought  by 
the  Duke's  servant  at  eight  o'clock,  saying  that  he  had  seen  his 
Parliamentary  friends  yesterday,  and  was  very  desirous  of 
seeing  me  to-day. 

I  went  to  Apsley  House  at  twelve.  He  said,  "  I  spent  the 
greater  part  of  yesterday  with  our  Conservative  friends  at  Sir 
Robert  Peel's,  and  we  were  principally  discussing  the  Clergy 
Reserves  measure. 

"  They  all  seemed  clearly  enough  to  perceive  the  difficulty 
of  settling  the  question,  but  no  one  seemed  to  set  himself  fairly 
to  the  consideration  of  how  the  difficulty  could  be  overcome. 

"  You  must  have  seen,1'  he  said,  "  while  you  have  been  in 
this  country,  that  there  are  only  two  ways  of  doing  things 
here  ;  that  is,  you  must  do  them  by  means  of  one  party  or  the 
other,  for  as  for  any  man,  or  number  of  men,  attempting  to 
strike  out  a  middle  course,  and  to  settle  a  great  public  question 
by  a  measure  just  and  reasonable,  and  such  as  all  good  men 
must  approve  of,  it  is  out  of  the  question,  no  one  thinks  of  it. 
Practically  I  believe  there  is  no  help  for  it.  Experience  has 
shown  this  state  of  things  to  be  necessary  here.  You  can  only 
carry  a  thing  by  taking  your  party  with  you,  you  must  go 
all  one  way  or  all  the  other. 

4tth  April.  —  Dined  with  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury. 
Met  the  Bishop  of  Lincoln  and  seven  or  eight  others. 


xi  SIR    HO  BERT   INGLIS  :«)•> 

The  Archbishop  returned  me  a  paper  I  had  left  him,  saying 
that  it  rested  the  right  of  the  Kstuhlished  Church  on  more 
solid  grounds  than  he  had  seen  set  out  before. 

As  my  lather's  departure  drew  near  he  received 
many  kind  farewell  notes,  among  them  the  following 
from  Sir  Robert  Inglis  :— 

7   BKI>FOKI>  S^i  ,/,/•//  1840. 

MY  DI  AK  CHIKF- JUSTICE, — I  cannot  go  to  bed  without 
thanking  you  for  your  very  kind  letter,  which  I  have  just 
found  on  my  return  home  from  the  debate,  the  division,  and 
the  close  (without  a  division)  of  the  great  corn  law  question. 

I  can  truly  assure  you  that  I  shall  often  think  of  you,  and 
never  without  respect  and  regard.  I  hope  that  we  shall  yet 
meet  here. 

You  will  (D.  V.)  find  us  here  at  breakfast  on  Tuesday, 
Wednesday,  Thursday,  and  Friday  mornings;  and,  if  you 
come  at  a  quarter  before  nine,  you  will  be  one  of  our  family. 
Pray  bring  your  son. 

...  If  Lady  Inglis  should  be  at  home,  it  would  give  her 
much  pleasure  to  see  Mrs.  Robinson,  and  show  her  our  picture 
of  Mr.  Wilberforce.1 — Believe  me,  my  dear  Chief-Justice,  most 
truly  yours,  ROBERT  H.  Lvcu^. 

And  Sir  Robert  writes  later  to  him  to  Canada : — 

I  can  hardly,  without  being  accused  of  flattery  (by  you  at 
least,  though  by  no  one  else),  tell  you  how  highly  I  appreciate 
your  talents  and  your  public  principles.  In  everything  relating 
to  the  North  American  Provinces  of  the  Crown,  it  is  a  satisfac- 
tion to  me  to  think  that  I  have  not  differed  from  you  in  speech 
or  in  vote. 

Sir  Robert  Peel  writes  on  Thursday,  2nd  April  :— 
MY  DEAR  SIR, — I  am  very  desirous  of  seeing  you  for  other 
reasons  than  to  bid  you  reluctantly  farewell.     Will  you  call 

1  The  portrait  of  Mr.  William  Wilberforce  for  Sir  Robert  Ing! 
said  to  have  "achieved  "  (for  George  Richmond,  the  artist)  "  by  its  happy 
treatment  of  a  difficult  subject,  a  \v<irhl-\vidi>  >uc«  v<-  "  ("Dictionary  of 
National  Biography — George  Richmond,  R.A.") 

U 


306    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

upon  me  on  Saturday  morning  at  eleven?  The  principle  of 
non-intrusion,  for  which  my  petitioners  rather  than  I  myself 
contend,  applies  only  to  unwelcome  appointments. — Ever,  my 
dear  sir,  most  truly  yours,  ROBERT  PEEL. 


Journal  continued. 

Sunday,  5th  April. — I  dined  with  the  Duke  of  Wellington, 
who  was  so  kind  as  to  ask  Lukin  to  accompany  me. 

We  met  Lord  and  Lady  Wilton,  Lord  Adolphus  Fitz 
Clarence,  Lord  Burghersh,  Colonel  and  Mrs.  Anson,  Lord 
and  Lady  Mahon,  Lord  McDonell,  the  Austrian  and  Nether- 
lands Ambassadors,  General  Alava,  and  several  others.  An 
exceedingly  agreeable  party. 

I  have  seen  Sir  Robert  Peel,  and  was  with  him  for  more 
than  an  hour. 

He  says  he  agrees  entirely  in  my  sentiments  on  the  Clergy 
Reserves  question,  but  that  the  High  Church  party  would  not 
support  him  in  it.  As  to  the  union  I  see  pretty  clearly  that 
he  feels  it  impossible  to  give  an  unqualified  opposition  to  the 
principle  of  union. 

1th  April. — At  the  Duke's  request  called  on  him  at  twelve. 
He  talked  to  me  very  plainly  on  matters  here. 

I  asked  him  whether,  if  the  Clergy  Reserves  Bill  should  be 
thrown  out,  there  was  any  chance  that  some  proper  measure 
could  be  brought  in  here  and  carried.  He  said  :  "  We  can't  do 
it  in  our  House  (the  Lords)  because  we  have  no  power  what- 
ever over  public  measures  except  as  acting  on  the  defensive. 
We  cannot  answer  for  our  friends  in  the  Commons. 

"  The  cry  with  a  certain  party  of  our  friends  is  '  Principle, 
principle,  we  must  stand  upon  principle.'  I  always  tell  them 
principle  is  a  very  good  thing ;  I  will  stand  upon  principle 
too  as  long  as  any  of  you,  when  I  can  see  one  to  stand  on, 
but  I  want  a  principle  that  will  fill  the  stomach. 

"  It's  a  very  easy  thing  for  people  who  live  at  ease  in  all 
respects  to  say :  '  I  am  satisfied,  I  want  no  change,  I  am  for 
abiding  by  principle.'  They  forget  the  thousands  and  the 
millions  that  live  in  desolate  places  they  hardly  know  how, 


• 


xi  IH7KE   OF   WELLINGTON  :*<)? 

and  come  out  and  say  :  '  We  have  no  bread,  no  rest ;  we  want 
to  be  taught.1"  He  spoke  long  and  feelingly  and  very  clearly. 

He  said  at  parting,  "  I  shall  be  here  every  day  at  twi-lve, 
and  always  glad  to  see  you  when  you  rail." 

I  had  a  long  talk  with  the  Bishop  of  Exeter  to-day. 

8th  April. — At  the  Duke's  request  I  had  an  interview  with 
Lord  Lyndhurst,  whom  I  found  still  very  weak  and  ill;  so 
much  so  indeed  that  I  would  not  enter  into  particular  con- 
versation with  him,  though  it  was  desired  and  intended  that 
I  should.  I  feared  to  be  the  cause  of  injury  to  his  health. 

By  request  I  attended  a  meeting  at  the  Mansion  House 
for  promoting  the  objects  of  the  Society  for  Propagating  the 
(Jospel  in  I-'oreign  Tar 

The  Archbishop  spoke;  the  Bishop  of  London  very  elo- 
quently, so  also  Archdeacon  Wilberforce  and  several  others. 

I  had  been  requested  to  second  a  motion,  and  after  I  got 
into  the  room  it  was  changed  and  another  put  into  my  hands. 
It  was  late  in  the  afternoon  before  my  turn  came,  and  I 
perplexed  between  wishing  to  say  some  things,  and  to  comply 
with  the  impatience  for  dinner,  and  I  spoke  badly. 

After  I  had  done,  two  gentlemen  came  to  me  and  begged 
I  would  publish  in  pamphlet  form  what  I  had  said,  that  it  would 
be  very  useful,  as  it  gave  information  which  was  much  wanted. 

I  told  them  it  was  quite  impossible  ;  that  I  was  to  embark 
ith  my  family  in  a  few  hours,  and  had  not  a  moment  of  leisure. 

<£1000  was  collected. 

Thursday,  9th  April. — I  called  and  took  leave  of  the  Duke 
of  Wellington.  He  was  most  friendly  and  confidential  in  his 
conversation  with  me. 

We  spoke  most  of  the  Clergy  Reserves  question,  and  of  the 
Canadian  question  (the  Union). 

Upon  the  latter  he  said,  "  Whenever  that  question  comes 
on,  you  may  depend  upon  this,  I'll  say  what  I  think,  if  the 
Devil  stands  in  the  door.'" 

The  Duke,  I  may  here  add,  opposed  the  passage 
of  the  Union  Bill  at  its  third  reading  in  the  House  of 


308    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Lords,  handing  in  a  written  protest,  containing  his 
reasons.  He  was  firmly  convinced  that  the  measure 
was  an  unsafe  one  in  the  interests  of  British  connection. 
Opinions  have  differed  as  to  the  Duke's  action 
and  policy  as  a  statesman,  but  many  will  agree  with 
a  recent  writer,  Mr.  Spencer  Wilkinson,  who,  in 
"  Cromwell  to  Wellington  "  (1899),  says  :- 

He  was  the  strongest,  loyalest,  greatest,  flesh-and-blood 
Englishman  that  we,  or  our  fathers,  know  of,  or  are  likely  to 
know. 

Those  who  scoff  at  his  statesmanship  mean  by  a  statesman 
a  politician  skilful  in  carrying  his  party  to  victory.  Those 
who  prefer  national  to  party  services  may  possibly  think  that, 
despite  undoubted  mistakes,  the  statesman  was  even  greater 
than  the  soldier,  though  neither  of  them  was  so  great  as  the  man. 

To  those  in  Canada  it  may  be  of  interest  to  know 
(as  is  more  than  once  brought  out  in  these  pages) 
how  deeply  Canadian  questions,  and  the  great  im- 
portance of  the  North  American  Colonies  to  England, 
occupied  his  mind,  though  he  had  never  served  in 
Canada. 

His  speech  upon  the  Union  Bill  was  one  of  his 
last  great  efforts  in  the  House  of  Lords.  Lord 
Mahon,  afterwards  Earl  Stanhope,  writing  on  8th 
November  1840,  says  : — 

The  Duke  spoke  with  the  deepest  emotion,  I  might  almost 
say  anguish,  of  the  loss  of  Canada  impending,  as  he  fears, 
from  the  measures  of  last  session.  I  have  seldom  seen  him 
more  affected.1 

And  Sir  Francis  Head  writes  to  my  father,  July 
18,  1840  :— 

1  "  Conversations  with  the  Duke  of  Wellington,"  by  Earl  Stanhope. 


xi  DUKE    OF    WELLINGTON  309 

The  Duke,  after  the  excitement  of  his  last  speech  (against 
the  Union),  was  scixetl  with  another  of  tho>e  attacks  which 
proceed  from  the  flesh  being  too  weak  for  the  spirit.  I'pper 
Canada  should  revere  his  name,  and  you  should  be  proud  of  the 
manner  in  which  you  have  ,all  been  spoken  of  by  the  «jreate>l 
and  simplest  man  of  this  age,  or,  I  believe,  of  almost  anv  age. 

The  Duke  in  his  M  Protest"  referred  to  the 
"  loyalty,  gallantry,  and  exertions  of  the  local  troops, 
militia  and  volunteers,  of  the  province  of  Upper 
Canada,11  stating  that  the  "operations  in  the  recent 
insurrection  and  rebellion  had  tended  to  show  that 
the  military  resources  and  qualities  of  the  inhabitants 
of  Upper  Canada  have  not  deteriorated  since  the 
War  ; "  and  that  in  that  War  (of  1812-15)  it  had  been 
"  demonstrated  that  these  provinces  (with  but  little 
assistance  from  the  Mother  Country  in  regular  troops) 
are  capable  of  defending  themselves  against  all  the 
efforts  of  their  powerful  neighbours. 

The  strong  views  held  by  the  Duke  as  to  the  im- 
portance of  the  Canadas  to  England  made  it  natu- 
rally more  difficult  for  him,  than  for  those  not  holding 
them  to  the  same  extent,  to  accept  the  measure  of 
the  Union,  which,  he  feared,  might  possibly  lead  to 
their  separation  from  the  Crown. 

His  opinion  was  (see  page  294) :  "  If  you  lose  that 
(viz.,  Upper  Canada)  you  lose  all  your  Colonies  in  that 
country ;  and,  if  you  lose  them,  you  may  as  well  lose 
London."  He  advocated  the  expenditure  of  large 
sums,  which  no  Government  of  his  day  would  grant, 
for  the  defence  of  the  Canadian  frontier  (page  284). 
He  urged  the  establishment  of  an  arsenal,  &c.,  on  the 
Niagara  frontier,  which  was  not  carried  out  (page  68). 
He  caused  the  construction  of  the  Rldeau  Canal, 


310    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

chiefly  with  a  view  to  defence1  (page  330),  and  he 
repeatedly  pressed  upon  Ministers  the  necessity  of 
securing  naval  superiority  upon  the  Lakes  (page  69). 

Sir  Robert  Peel  would,  no  doubt,  under  certain 
circumstances  (see  his  letter  of  10th  January  1839, 
pages  275-77),  have  fought  for  the  maintenance  of 
the  Canadas,  but  he  was  impressed  with  the  gravity  of 
the  obligation  to  do  so,  and  their  loss  would  evidently 
not  have  been  felt  by  him  to  be  the  serious  blow  to 
England  that  the  Duke  would  have  regarded  it. 

He  (Sir  Robert)  writes  thus,  on  the  16th  May  1842, 
to  Lord  Aberdeen,2  at  a  time  when  there  was  friction 
between  Great  Britain  and  the  United  States  on  the 
subject  of  the  boundary  line  between  New  Brunswick 
and  Maine,3  and  disputes  between  the  Mother  Country' 
and  Canada  were  going  on  as  to  the  Canadian  civil 
list  :— 

If  there  is  not  a  British  party  in  the  Canadas  sufficient  to 
put  down  these  attempts  at  renewed  conflicts,  I  for  one  should 
be  much  disposed  to  hold  high  language.  Let  us  keep  Nova 
Scotia  and  New  Brunswick,  for  their  geographical  position 
makes  their  sea-coast  of  great  importance  to  us ;  but  the  con- 
nection with  the  Canadas,  against  their  will — nay,  without  the 
cordial  co-operation  of  the  predominant  party  in  Canada — is  a 
very  onerous  one.  The  sooner  we  have  a  distinct  understand- 
ing on  that  head  the  better ;  the  advantage  of  commercial  in- 
tercourse is  all  on  the  side  of  the  Colony,  or  at  least  is  not  in 
favour  of  the  Mother  Country. 


1  Dr.  Widmer,  of  Toronto,  who  had  served  in  the  Peninsular  War, 
writing  to  my  father  when  it  was  contemplated   to   make   Ottawa   the 
Dominion  seat  of  Government,  says  :  "  The  Great  Duke's  spirit  nods  assent 
— his  sagacity  foresaw  this  when  he  planned  the  Rideau  Canal." 

2  "  Sir  Robert  Peel,  from  his  Private  Papers/'  by  C.  S.  Parker  (1899), 
vol.  iii.  pp.  387-89. 

3  Afterwards  settled  by  the  treaty  termed  by  Lord  Palmerston  the 
"  Ashburton  Capitulation"  (Alison's  "  History  of  Europe/'  1815  to  1852, 
p.  320). 


xi  RETURN   TO   CANADA  311 

But,  above  all,  if  the  people  are  not  cordially  with  us,  why 
should  we  contract  the  tremendous  obligation  of  having  to  de- 
fend, on  a  point  of  honour,  their  territory  against  American 
aggression  ?  Let  us  fight  to  the  last  for  the  point  of  honour  if 
the  people  are  with  us;  in  that  case  we  cannot  abandon  them. 
But  if  they  are  not  with  us,  or  if  they  will  not  cordially  sup- 
port and  sustain  those  measures  which  we  consider  necessary  for 
their  good  government  and  for  the  maintenance  of  a  safe  con- 
nection with  them,  let  us  have  a  friendly  separation  while  there 
is  yet  time. 

On  Friday,  10th  April  1840,  my  father  with  his 
family  sailed  for  New  York  in  the  Quebec.  a  sailing  ship, 
and  reached  Portsmouth  on  the  Tuesday  following. 

Sir  John  Pakington  sent  him  the  first  copy  he 
had  seen  of  the  new  Union  Bill  (which  reached  him 
just  before  he  sailed),  and  writes  :— 

I  presume  you  have  seen  the  Union  Bill — but  I  will  send  you 
a  copy  from  the  House  this  evening  to  ensure  your  having  it. 

How  very  provoking  that  you  should  be  obliged  to  sail  just 
before  the  debates  on  the  Clergy  Reserves  in  the  Lords,  and  on 
the  Union  in  the  Commons,  both  of  which  are  fixed  for  Monday 
the  13th. 

The  Bishop  of  Exeter,  with  whom  he  had  many 
interviews  in  connection  with  Church  questions, 
also  writes  warmly  to  him,  9th  April  :— 

Once  more,  in  the  full  sense  of  the  phrase,  and  from  my 
heart — "God  bless  you." — Ever  faithfully  and  affectionately 
yours,  H.  EXKI 

And  Sir  Francis  Head,  in  a  letter  of  10th  April 
which  apparently  reached  him  at  Portsmouth  :— 

You  are  at  this  moment,  I  hope,  with  a  fair  wind  floating 
towards  the  Nore.  I  had  fully  intended  to  have  said  good-bye, 
but  you  were  not  at  home,  and,  as  I  drove  away,  I  felt  almost  glad 
that  it  was  so,  for  it  would  only  have  given  me  pain  to  have 
attempted  to  say  much  which  I  hope  it  is  not  necessary  I  should 


312    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

express.  When  you  write  to  me  about  politics,  say  something 
also  about  your  health,  as  to  which  I  am  anxious. — With  great 
regard,  yours  very  affectionately,  F.  B.  HEAD. 

From  Portsmouth  he  wrote  to  Bishop  Strachan  : — 

It  was  an  anxious  moment  to  leave  England,  but  there  was 
no  help  for  it. 

My  leave  had  expired,  and  the  Governor-General  (Mr. 
Thompson)  on  the  one  side,  and  Messrs.  Hume  and  Leader  on 
the  other  side  of  the  Atlantic,  were  so  impatient  to  have  me 
fairly  shipped,  that  the  Secretary  of  State  was  at  no  loss  as  to 
excuses  for  his  anxiety  on  the  subject. 

I  made  no  application  to  remain  longer,  and  consistently 
with  the  respect  due  to  myself,  I  could  not  have  done  it. 

After  an  average  voyage,  with  some  hard  gales, 
but  much  fair  weather  and  often  light  baffling  winds, 
the  Quebec  sighted  Long  Island  at  daylight  on  the 
15th  May,  and  on  the  16th  was  becalmed,  just  out- 
side of  the  Hook  near  New  York. 

At  11  A.M.  on  the  16th  a  small  steamer  came  out 
and  took  her  in  tow,  and  they  landed  at  New  York 
at  2  P.M. 

My  father,  in  concluding  his  Journal,  says  : — 

The  British  Queen  (a  steamer)  passed  us  the  night  before, 
quite  near,  having  left  Portsmouth  seventeen  days  after  we  did. 
We  had  a  most  lovely  day  for  entering  the  harbour  of  New 
York.  The  scene  was  quite  enchanting.  .  .  . 

We  found  John  here  waiting  for  us.  He  tells  us  all  are 
well  at  home.  God  be  praised. 

Eight  hundred  of  the  inhabitants  of  Toronto 
welcomed  him  upon  his  return  (on  1st  June  1840) 
with  an  address,  in  which  they  expressed  their  appre- 
ciation of  his  efforts  in  England  "to  promote  the 
interests  of  Upper  Canada,"  and  "their  pleasure  at 
seeing  him  once  more  among  them." 


CHAPTER    XII 

JUDICIAL   LIFE— HOME   LI  IK 
1840-51 

Judicial  life     Separation   of   the   office-   of    President   of    Executive    and 
Speaker  of'   Legislative  Council  from   that  of  Chief-Justice     Address 
fcO  Grand  Joiy      Importance  Of  tlM  .Judicature  heinif   kept    free  from 
Mi>picion  of  political  hias      Statute  liook  of  I   pper  Canad-i      Allusions 
to  his  work  while  upon  the   Bench      Changes    in   Canada   during   his 
lifetime    -  The    /,'/(/•   Jnnrnal    as    to    him  —  I'uhlic    intr 
\Vellaiul    and    Kideau     canals         J^ake     navigation        The     Canadian 
Institute  —  Church    work    in    Canada      Lord    Sydenham's     death  - 
Keferenco   to   my   father   hy   Sir    F.  Head  and   Sir  d.   Arthur 
to  IVu-rhorou^h      ( 'olonel  Talhot  —  I  lome  life      Appointed  Companion 
of  the  Hath  — Visit  to  Virginia. 

MY  father's  work  upon  the  Bench,  extending  over  the 
long  period  from  1829  to  1863,  was  unquestionably 
that  to  which  the  very  best  energies  of  the  best 
years  of  his  life  were  continuously  devoted,  and  in 
connection  with  which  his  name  will  he  chiefly 
remembered  in  Canada. 

After  1840  his  duties  became  entirely  judicial, 
for  it  was  considered  by  the  Government,  on  his 
return  from  England  in  1840,  to  be  inexpedient  that 
he  should  resume  his  position  of  Speaker  of  the 
Legislative  Council.  This  was  in  consequence  of 
a  pending  measure,  under  which  those  connected 
with  the  administration  of  justice  were  not  to  hold 
any  political  or  other  Government  office. 

Few  will  be  found  to  contest  the  general  wisdom 
of  this  measure — under  which  the  Judicature  wn>, 
dissociated  from  all  connection  with  politics — carried 
out  in  1841,  and  I  may  add  that  no  one  was  more 

313 


314    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

fully  alive  than  my  father,  while  on  the  Bench,  to 
the  importance  of  keeping  the  administration  of 
justice  free  from  all  suspicion  of  political  bias. 

In  connection  with  this  I  may  quote  from  one  of 
his  addresses  to  the  Grand  Jury  in  1837  : — 

GENTLEMEN  OF  THE  GRAND  JURY — 

You  delivered  into  Court  yesterday  a  paper  addressed 
to  me  in  which  you  acquainted  me  that  you  had  made  a 
representation  to  his  Excellency  the  Lieutenant-Governor  on 
various  subjects  connected  with  the  welfare  of  your  district, 
which  representation  you  requested  me  to  transmit  to  his 
Excellency. 

I  took  it  for  granted  that  your  representation  related  either 
to  the  subject  of  the  gaol  or  to  some  matter  connected  with 
the  administration  of  justice,  or  with  the  local  interests  of  this 
district ;  and  being  occupied  in  the  trial  of  a  cause,  I  had  no 
leisure  at  the  moment  to  peruse  it. 

I  have  now  read  it,  and  I  find  that  it  is  an  expression  of 
opinion  upon  various  subjects  of  general  policy,  important  no 
doubt  to  the  people  of  the  province,  but  having  no  immediate 
connection  with  the  administration  of  justice. 

I  have  a  strong  reluctance  as  a  judge  to  be  made  the 
channel  of  such  a  communication,  and  from  respect  to  the 
Grand  Jury  I  will  state  my  reasons. 

The  business  of  this  Court  is  to  administer  justice,  and 
we  cannot  too  closely  confine  ourselves  to  it.  His  Majesty 's 
subjects  should  all  feel  that  they  stand  here  upon  an  equal 
footing.  We  have  to  do  with  rights  in  this  place,  and  with 
opinions  only  so  far  as  they  bear  upon  those  rights.  To 
deviate  to  the  debatable  ground  of  politics  would  be  departing 
from  our  proper  sphere. 

Since  I  have  been  upon  the  Bench,  a  period  of  more  than 
seven  years,  I  have  not  been  asked  to  become  the  medium  of 
conveying  an  address  to  the  Executive  Government  upon  any 
subject  not  immediately  connected  with  the  duties  of  the 
Court,  and,  upon  this  first  occasion,  I  feel  it  to  be  my  duty 
to  discourage  it. 


xii  JUDICIAL    LI  IK 

You  will  understand  from  this,  gentlemen,  that  I  hope 
you  will  withdraw  your  request  to  me  to  transmit  \our  repre- 
sentations to  his  Excellency,  and  you  will  excuse  my  stating 
frankly  to  you  that  opinions  on  the  subjects  discussed  in  this 
representation  would  more  properly,  as  I  think,  be  withheld  by 
you  while  acting  in  the  capacity  of  Grand  Jurors. 

Every  man  in  the  community  is  interested  in  guarding  the 
administration  of  justice  from  suspicion,  misconstruction,  or 
reproach.  .  .  . 

But  the  system  under  which  he  first  entered 
judicial  lite  and  presided  as  Chief-Justice  in  the 
Legislative  Council  was,  nevertheless,  not  without 
some  advantages,1  and  the  journals  of  the  Council 
show  how  his  presence  in  it  had  enabled  him  to  in- 
troduce and  carry  through  many  beneficial  measures, 
especially  of  a  legal  character,  which  from  his  ex- 
perience— gained  in  great  part  upon  the  Bench- 
he  saw  to  be  advantageous. 

They  are  evidence  also  that  the  "  Statute-Book  " 
of  Upper  Canada,  of  which  Lord  Durham  speaks  as 
follows,  was  largely  his  work  :— 

The  "  Statute- Book  "  of  the  Upper  Province  abounds  with 
useful  and  well-constructed  measures  of  reform. 

That  the  business  of  the  Courts  was  not  retarded 
by  the  demands  of  politics  upon  his  time,  but  was 
diligently  earned  out,  is  sufficiently  evinced  by  the 
fact  that  on  the  day  on  which  the  union  of  the 
provinces  was  proclaimed,  there  was  not  one  case, 
civil  or  criminal,  which  had  been  argued,  remaining 
undecided  in  the  Court  of  Queen's  Bench. 


1  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  in  England    the   Lord  (.'hanrdlor  -till 
sits  in  the  House  of  Lords,  and  goes  in  and  out  with  the  (iovernment. 


316    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Mr.  Fennings  Taylor,1  alluding  to  his  judicial  life, 
writes : — 

From  the  time  when  his  connection  with  political  affairs 
closed,  he  ceased  to  be  the  property  of  a  party.  Then,  and  to 
the  end  of  his  life,  he  belonged  to  the  province.  He  grew  irre- 
sistibly and  with  noiseless  force  in  the  good-will  and  affections 
of  the  people.  Men  no  longer  remembered  the  ardent  politician 
and  skirmishes  at  elections.  They  only  recollected  the  upright 
judge  and  his  consistent  and  laborious  life. 

It  is  a  true  description  of  his  life  to  speak  of  it  as 
being  "  laborious  "  as  well  as  consistent. 

It  left  him  but  little  leisure  for  other  occupations 
or  for  any  recreation.  My  recollection  of  him  is  that 
hour  after  hour,  and  for  days  together,  he  was  at  his 
library  desk,  when  not  at  Court  or  on  circuit ;  but 
always  extraordinarily  patient  of  interruption,  and 
able  in  an  exceptional  way,  when  for  a  time  he  cast 
his  work  aside,  to  throw  it  off  his  mind. 

In  August  1848  he  writes  to  his  sister,  Mrs.  Boul- 
ton,  when  the  Court  was  sitting : — 

It  is  vexatious  to  be  obliged  as  I  am  to  spend  every  day  and 
all  day  in  Court,  coming  home  weary,  sometimes  at  six,  some- 
times at  seven,  and  commonly  working  from  the  time  I  get  up 
till  I  set  out  for  Court.  This,  I  suppose,  is  to  be  a  history  of 
my  existence  for  the  rest  of  my  days. 

And  so  it  was — and  so  it  is  the  history  of  many 
another  Judge  upon  the  Bench. 

The  following  sketch  of  him  is  given  in  the 
Toronto  Courier  of  24th  March  1835,  under  the 
signature  of  "  Alan  Fairford  "  :— 


Portraits  of  British  Americans,"  by  Femiiugs  Taylor  (1866). 


xii  .imiC'IAI,   LIFE  317 

SKETCH   OF  THE  Cmn-.h  >, 

In  Israel's  Courts  ne'er  sat  an  Abethdin 
With  more  discerning  eye,  or  hands  more  clean  ; 
Unbribed,  unsought,  the  wretched  to  redress, 
Swift  of  despatch,  and  easy  of  access.  — 


In  picturing  to  ourselves  the  character  and  person  of  a 
judge,  we  usually  invest  him  with  solemnity  of  appearance. 
venerable  old  age,  and  features  furrowed  hv  intense  and  de- 
liberate thought. 

These  distinguishing  marks,  however,  do  not  appertain  to  the 
Chief-Justice  of  I'pper  Canada.  Comparatively  speaking,  he 
is  a  young  Judge  —  young  in  appearance,  young  in  manner, 
young  in  everything  but  knowledge  and  virtue. 

The  Chief-Justice  has  but  one  object,  and  that  is  the  good 
of  the  province,  and  all  the  weight  that,  he  can  command  he 
throws  into  the  scale  of  con>titutional  liberty  and  good  govern- 
ment. Not  only  are  we  indebted  to  him  for  the  dignified  im- 
partiality with  which  he  administers  justice,  for  his  laborious 
research,  his  swiftness  of  despatch,  his  ea>ine»  of  access;  not 
only  are  we  indebted  to  him  for  the  masterly  charges  constantly 
delivered  to  the  Grand  Juries,  explaining  recent  enactments, 
and  suggesting  improvements  where  the  law  is  defective;  but 
to  him  we  owe  anything  like  a  statute-book. 

The  Bills,  as  may  be  easily  imagined,  are,  when  sent  up  from 
the  Lower  House,2  thickly  studded  with  blunders,  contra- 
dictions, imperfections  numberless.  Those  the  Chief-Justice 
corrects,  expunges,  reconciles,  and  amends. 

Fortunately  for  the  province  he  cast  his  lot  in  it.  He  is 
not  a  worldly-minded  man,  and  to  live  in  the  honourable  esti- 
mation and  in  the  hearts  of  his  fellow-subjects  is  no  doubt 
dearer  to  him  than  the  accumulation  of  wealth;  but  in  Eng- 
land he  would  have  ranked  with  the  Sugdens  and  the  Wether- 
ells,  the  Knights,  the  Pembertons,  and  the  Folletts. 


1  From  Dryden's  poem  of  "Absalom  and  Ahithophel." 

2  i.e.  from  the  House  of  Assembly  to  the  Legislative  Council,  of  which 
he  was  Speaker.  | 


318    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

All  who  come  within  his  influence  love  him  and  imbibe  for 
him  that  personal  regard  and  individual  attachment  which  so 
few  have  the  power  of  inspiring. 

To  touch  even  slightly  to  any  advantage  upon 
the  more  important  of  those  judgments  which  he 
delivered  while  he  sat  upon  the  Bench,  would  require 
a  legal  training  and  knowledge  which  I  do  not 
possess,  and  also  unduly  lengthen  these  pages. 

Mr.  Read,  in  his  "  Lives  of  the  Judges,"  alluding 
to  him,  writes  : — 

On  his  elevation  to  the  Bench,  the  Chief-Justice  found 
himself  called  upon  to  administer  and  interpret  laws,  a  very 
considerable  part  of  the  statutory  portion  of  which  he  had 
either  framed  or  assisted  in  framing.  It  would  be  idle  to 
attempt  to  give  even  a  synopsis  of  the  decisions  come  to  by 
him  during  the  thirty-three  years  he  was  Chief-Justice  of  the 
Queen's  Bench.  It  is  sufficient  to  say  that  during  this  whole 
period,  the  longest  ever  attained  by  any  Chief-Justice  or  Judge 
in  the  province,  he  was  looked  up  to  as  the  Head  of  the  Bench, 
and  that  his  decisions,  contained  in  thirty  volumes  of  reports, 
uniformly  had  the  respect  of  the  Bar. 

But  while  I  abstain  from  any  attempt  to  enter 
into  details  of  his  legal  work,  I  am  sensible  that  not 
to  dwell  to  some  extent  upon  those  labours,  which 
formed  the  main  interest  and  occupation  of  his  life, 
and  constituted  really  his  chief  life-task,  would  be  to 
represent  him  but  very  imperfectly. 

There  are  few  official  positions  in  a  nation  which 
involve  greater  responsibility,  or  in  which  the  efficient 
and  scrupulous  discharge  of  duty  is  more  necessary, 
or  more  influences  the  character  and  well-being  of 
the  community,  than  that  of  the  Head  of  the  Courts 
of  Justice. 

Of  this  my  father  was  very  sensible,  and  nothing, 


xii  JUDICIAL    LIFE  319 

I  think,  would  have  given  him  greater  satisfaction 
than  to  have  been  able  to  feel,  as  I  hope  he  could  feel, 
that  he  had  contributed  in  an  appreciable  degree 
towards  creating  and  maintaining  in  Canada  that  con- 
fidence in  the  integrity  of  the  Bench  which  exists, 
I  believe,  throughout  the  entire  country. 

To  maintain  the  purity  and  dignity  of  the  Courts, 
and  to  increase  the  estimation  in  which  the  decisions 
of  the  Canadian  Hench l  were  held  in  the  Mother 
Country,  were  aims  never  absent  from  his  mind. 

His  journals  from  which  I  have  quoted  in  preced- 
ing chapters,  and  that  of  1855  (chapter  xiv.),  allud- 
ing frequently  to  legal  topics  and  persons,  show  with 
what  great  interest,  when  in  England,  he  followed 
the  proceedings  of  the  English  Courts  ;  and  from 
them  is  to  be  gathered  what  chiefly  struck  him. 

While  he  enjoyed  a  joke  as  much  as  any  one,  and 
could  appreciate  the  witty  good  humour  of  a  Baron 
Parke,  he  disliked  foolish  levity,  and  any  want  of 
decorum  in  Courts  of  Justice,  as  well  as  the  badger- 
ing of  witnesses  on  the  part  of  counsel.2 

The  law  had  been  undoubtedly  the  profession  of  his 
choice,  and  its  study,  practice,  and  administration  had 
occupied  him,  more  or  less  uninterruptedly,  from  the 
time  he  entered  Mr.  Boulton's  law  office  in  1807 
until  his  death,  while  President  of  the  Court  of  Error 
and  Appeal,  in  1863. 

Having  become  Acting  Attorney-General  at  a 
very  early  age,  and  entered  the  Legislature  when 
young,  he  was  from  official  position  closely  concerned 
with  the  law  of  Upper  Canada  and  its  modifications 
for  more  than  half  a  century. 

1  As  to  this,  see  pages  326  aud  375.  2  See  pages  82,  85-S6. 


320    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

He  had  grown  up,  it  may  be  said,  with  the  Upper 
Province  of  Canada  and  with  the  city  of  Toronto, 
from  their  birth,  for  he  was  born  in  the  year  (1791)  in 
which  Upper  Canada  commenced  its  statutory  exist- 
ence,1 and  in  the  following  year  (1792)  his  father 
moved  with  him  to  Kingston,  and  thence  (in  1798) 
to  York,  which  was  then  but  a  small  village  sur- 
rounded by  forest.2 

From  that  time  he  lived  in  York  (Toronto)  until 
within  four  years  of  the  province  becoming  incor- 
porated into  the  present  Dominion,3  and  until  its 
population  was,  roughly  speaking,  about  that  of  the 
whole  of  Upper  Canada  when  his  father  and  he  first 
came  into  it.4 

As  I  have  before  said,  many  of  his  earlier  circuits 
were  made  more  or  less  on  horseback,  owing  to  the 
indifference  of  even  the  main  roads  throughout  the 
country. 

His  life  comprised  an  important  and  progressive 
period,  not  only  in  the  history  of  Canada,  but  of 
other  parts  of  the  world,  and  it  need  scarcely  be  said 
that  the  events  in  Europe  and  Great  Britain  exercised 
a  great  influence  on  the  North  American  Colonies. 

In  the  year  in  which  he  was  born,  French  law  in 
matters  of  property  and  civil  rights  governed  all 
Canada,  and  the  French  Revolution  was  going  on. 

Then  followed  the  struggle  with  Napoleon,  out 
of  which  grew  the  war  between  Great  Britain  and 


1  Under  the  Constitutional  Act  of  1791. 

2  The  population  of  York  five  years  afterwards,  in  1803,  is  given  as 
456.     I  have  heard  my  father  say  that  he  had  seen  a  bear  killed  on  what 
is  now  King  Street,  Toronto. 

3  Under  the  Confederation  (British  North  America)  Act  of  1867. 

4  In  1800,  two  years  after  my  father  came  to  York,  the  population  of 
Upper  Canada  was  but  50,000.     That  of  Toronto  the  year  after  his  death 
was  49,000. 


xii  JUDICIAL   LIFE  321 

the  United  States  of  1812-15,  of  which  Canada  was 
mainly  the  scene. 

After  this  came  the  passage  of  the  Reform  Bill  in 
England,  the  repeal  of  the  Corn  Laws,  the  repeal 
of  the  Test  and  Corporation  Acts,  the  Canadian  Re- 
hellion,  the  Union  of  the  Canadas,  and  the  Revo- 
lutionary period  in  Europe  of  1848-49.  Church, 
educational,  and  fiscal  questions  were  subjects  of  much 
attention  and  no  little  legislation.  Railways,  steamers, 
and  the  telegraph  were  introduced,  and  new  interests 
of  every  kind  were  created  in  Upper  Canada,  where 
the  population  kept  increasing  by  leaps  and  bounds. 

It  can  be  easily  seen  that  all  this  had  its  effect 
upon  the  work  of  those  connected  with  the  law,  which 
in  Upper  Canada  as  elsewhere  had  to  keep  pace  with, 
and  adapt  itself  to,  the  changing  circumstances  of 
the  country. 

It  may  help  some  to  realise  how  much  the 
Toronto  of  my  father's  boyhood  differed  from  that 
of  to-day,  and  how  much  legal  punishments  have 
changed  in  the  interim,  to  mention,  that  in  Robert- 
son's "  Landmarks  of  Toronto,"  and  Read's  "  Lives 

the  Judges  "  we  read l  that  the  stocks  and  pillory 
continued  in  use  in  York  for  some  years  after  the 
beginning  of  the  last  century  ;  and  that  in  1807,  when 
my  father  first  became  a  law-student,  a  prisoner  was 
convicted  before  Chief- Justice  Scott,  at  the  Criminal 
Court  of  the  Home  District,  for  stealing  five  shillings, 
and  sentenced  to  banishment  for  seven  years. 

Slaves  were  sold  in  York  in  1806,  when  my 
father  was  fifteen  years  old,  and  possibly  later ;  for 

1  "  Landmarks  of  Toronto,"  by  J.  Ross  Robertson  (1894),  p.  62  ;  Read's 
"  Lives  of  the  Judges,"  pp.  64  and  78. 

X 


5 


322    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

although  on  9th  July  1793  an  Act 1  passed  at  Niagara 
in  the  second  session  of  the  Upper  Canadian  Legisla- 
ture had  rendered  illegal  their  introduction  into  the 
province,  the  rights  of  property  in  slaves  then  in 
servitude  there,  were  not  interfered  with. 

From  what  has  been  said  it  can  be  readily  under- 
stood how  very  many  must  have  been  the  alterations 
in  the  Law  of  Upper  Canada  within  the  time  of  my 
father's  close  connection  with  it,  and  I  will  now 
quote  from  what  he  himself  writes  as  to  some  of  these 
changes,  and  other  matters  connected  with  his  judi- 
cial work. 

Writing  in  1854,  he  says  :— 

I  received  my  commission  as  Chief- Justice  on  the  13th 
July  1829,  and  from  that  time  to  this  (30th  March  1854),  I 
have  filled  the  office,  having  been  once  only  absent  from  my 
duty  in  1838  and  '39,  in  consequence  of  ill-health. 

In  that  period  wonderful  changes  have  occurred.  The 
population  of  Upper  Canada  has  risen  from  240,000  to  above  a 
million,  and  of  the  town  in  which  I  live,  from  3000  to  40,000. 
A  Court  of  Chancery  has  been  introduced,  and  having  been 
placed  at  the  head  of  a  Court  of  Appeal  from  its  decisions,  I 
have  been,  in  fact,  made  a  Judge  in  Equity  as  well  as  Law. 

The  most  difficult  and  important  cases  from  that  Court 
have  been  brought  before  me  and  my  brother  Judges  in 
"  Appeal " — a  duty  wholly  unknown  to  our  predecessors. 
Municipal  Councils  have  been  introduced,  and  we  have  to  try 
the  legality  of  elections  and  to  determine  the  validity  of  bye- 
laws,  in  relation  to  some  hundreds  of  municipalities — for  every 
county,  township,  city,  town,  and  considerable  village  has  its 
Municipal  Council. 

Banks,  insurance  companies,  railway  companies,  and  corpora- 


1  Mr.  Read  ("Lives  of  the  Judges")  points  out  that  it  is  a  matter  for 
just  pride  in  Canada  that  the  Upper  Province,  at  a  time  when  neither  the 
Mother  Country  nor  the  Republic  of  the  United  States  had  abolished 
slavery,  led  the  van  towards  its  suppression  by  this  Act. 


xii  JUDICIAL    LIFE  323 

tions  of  all  kinds  have  sprung  up,  giving  rise  to  new  inter 
and  to  a  great  variety  of  new  legal  questions,  so  that  if  I  were 
to  say  that  the  duties  and  responsibilities  of  the  office  of  Chief- 
Justice  have  increased  fivefold  during  my  tenure  of  it,  I  am 
not  sure  that  I  should  state  more  than  is  true.  The  number  of 
Assi/e.  towns  has  grown  from  eleven  to  thirty. 

Of  the  fifteen  English  Judges,  Baron  Parke  alone  was  on 
the  Bench  when  I  was  appointed.  I  can  remember  the  Chief- 
. I  ust  ice  being  changed  in  Lower  Canada,  Nova  Scotia,  New 
Brunswick,  lYiuce  Edward's  Island,  Newfoundland,  the  three 
Indian  Presidencies,  Ceylon,  Mauritius,  the  Cape,  Jamaica. 
Trinidad,  Tobago,  Bahama,  Bermuda,  Dominica,  and  I  believe 
the  fact  is  the  same  in  everv  colony. 

I    can    add,  with   some   degree   of  satisfaction,  that  in   the 

i  v-tbur  years  I  speak  of  there  have  been  but  five  appeals 

from  this  province  to  England,  three  in  important  equity  cases, 

and   two   in   common    law.       In   all    the    judgment    has   been 

affirmed,  and  no  judgment  given  in  our  Court  has  been  reversed. 

This  is  but  an  uncertain  test  of  their  correctness,  though  it 
affords  a  favourable  presumption;  and  at  least  the  profession 
and  the  public  will  always  have  the  means  of  estimating  and 
examining  the  labours  of  the  Court,  for  our  decisions  are  in 
regular  course  of  publication,  and  they  already  fill  fifteen 
volumes. 

It  is  also  satisfactory  to  be  able  to  say  that  during  the  last 
twenty-four  years  there  has  been  no  arrear  of  business  in  the 
Court  of  Queen's  Bench.  I  do  not  mean  merely  to  say  that 
there  has  been  no  great  arrear,  nor  for  any  long  time,  but 
that  there  has  been  absolutely  none. 

Many  years  ago,  I  had  an  Act  passed  which  allows  the  Court 
to  meet  at  the  expiration  of  ten  days  after  the  end  of  each 
term,  for  the  purpose  only  of  giving  judgments  in  matters  that 
have  been  argued.  This  enables  us  to  dispose  speedily  of  all 
such  questions  and  applications  as  the  Judges  can  readily  agree 
upon,  after  opportunity  of  conference  among  themselves.  Those 
cases  which  present  questions  of  greater  difficulty,  and  of  which 
the  Judges  cannot  at  once  bring  themselves  to  take  the  same 
view,  must  of  course  stand  over  for  consideration  to  the  next 
term,  when  judgment  is  sure  to  be  pronounced — unless  in  an 


324    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

occasional  case,  kept  open  at  the  desire  of  the  parties,  or  in 
which  some  further  elucidation  is  indispensable. 

Thus  it  frequently  happens  that  when  we  have  delivered  our 
judgments,  we  do  not  leave  a  case  undisposed  of  which  has  ever 
been  mentioned  in  the  Court,  and  are  as  clear  of  business  in  a 
tribunal  which  has  been  open  for  sixty  years,  in  a  country  con- 
taining now  a  million  of  people,  among  whom  commerce  and 
the  transferring  of  property,  and  all  those  pursuits  which  give 
rise  to  litigation  and  legal  questions,  are  carried  on  with  great 
activity,  as  if  it  had  been  open  but  a  day. 

I  need  riot  say  that  it  is  not  without  constant  attention  and 
great  labour  that  this  has  been  accomplished. 

Except  my  illness  in  1838,  I  have  been  singularly  favoured 
with  good  health ;  and  I  have  in  all  those  particulars  which  are 
most  essential  to  happiness  the  greatest  cause  for  thankfulness. 

I  conclude  my  reference  to  his  judicial  life  by  an 
extract  from  the  Law  Journal  as  to  it.1 

Sir  John  Robinson  was,  we  believe,  the  youngest  Chief- 
Justice  that  ever  sat  in  a  British  Court  of  Justice.  His 
reputation  at  the  Bar  had  qualified  him  for  the  post,  for  he 
certainly  had  no  equal  in  his  day,  and  his  judicial  career  has 
established  the  propriety  of  his  early  elevation. 

We  know  not  in  which  judicial  capacity  we  admired  him 
most.  At  nisi  prius  he  presided  with  calmness,  courtesy,  and 
dignity.  His  strict  impartiality  and  love  of  truth  were  pro- 
verbial; and  whether  it  was  a  Queers  counsel  or  the  most 
inexperienced  barrister  on  the  rolls,  he  paid  the  same  attention 
to  his  argument,  and  gave  to  each  equal  consideration  and 
protection.  His  love  of  order,  and  his  sense  of  the  respect  due 
to  the  dignity  of  a  court  of  justice,  made  him  prompt  to  sup- 
press any  indecorum;  and  when  disapproval  or  even  censure 
was  called  for,  he  befittingly  expressed  his  opinion,  though 
always  in  a  courteous  manner.  His  addresses  to  the  jury  were 
delivered  with  ease  and  grace,  and  were  clothed  in  the  clearest 
and  simplest  language.  In  sentencing  prisoners,  full  of  tender- 

1  From  the  Law  Journal  of  Upper  Canada,  March  1863. 


xii  JUDICIAL   LIFE 

ness  and  compassion,  he  indicated  the  charitable  feelings  of  his 
heart;  and  the  kind  and  wholesome  advice  he  was  in  the  habit 
of  giving  to  those  who  had  entered  on  a  career  of  crime,  and 
for  whose  reformation  there  was  yet  some  hope,  wa>  marked  by 
the  deepest  feeling.  Some  of  his  charges  to  Grand  Juries  are 
masterpieces  in  their  way,  and  his  addresses  on  public  occasions 
were  remarkable  for  their  erudition,  and  classic  beauty.  One 
of  the  finest  of  these  addresses  he  delivered  on  laying  the  foun- 
dation-stone of  the  Provincial  Lunatic  Asylum.  It  will  bear 
favourable  comparison  with  similar  productions  of  the  ablest 
writers,  and  its  vein  of  thought  and  purity  of  style  can  scarcely 
be  surpassed.1 

In  full  Court,  Sir  John  Robinson  was  always  the  pride  and 
favourite  of  the  Bar.  The  reputation  he  enjoyed,  and  the 
\u-ight  of  his  opinion,  greatly  increased  the  business  of  the 
Court  in  which  he  presided.  He  was  always  distinguished  for 
his  readiness  and  acuteness,  and  he  had  seldom  any  difficulty  in 
grasping  the  most  intricate  cases.  In  his  hands  the  business  of 
the  Court  was  never  in  arrear,  and  the.  knowledge  of  unfinished 
work  was  a  burthen  on  his  mind  to  relieve  himself  from  which 
he  would  use  the  most  strenuous  exertion.  Few  opinions  will 
ever  command  more  respect  or  carry  more  weight  than  those 
delivered  by  Sir  John  Robinson.  They  are  remarkable  for 
their  lucid  argument,  deep  learning,  strict  impartiality,  and 
pure  justice;  they  are  untainted  by  fanciful  theories,  prejudice, 
or  political  bias ;  and  they  bear  evidence  of  that  careful  re- 
search, that  deep  thought,  that  unwearied  application  and  un- 
tiring patience,  which  he  brought  to  bear  on  every  subject  that 
under  his  consideration.  In  whatever  branch  of  juris- 
prudence we  examine  his  judgments,  we  find  evidence  of  his 
intense  study.  Equity  or  common  law,  civil  or  criminal  law, 
pleading,  practice,  and  evidence — all  exhibit  the  same  copious- 
ness of  research,  and  the  profound  comprehensiveness  of  his 
legal  attainments.  He  may  be  said  to  have  studied  law  as  a 
science,  but  in  the  words  of  Mr.  Whiteside,  "he  objected  to 
the  triumph  of  form  over  substance,  of  technicality  over  truth ;  * 

1  See  some  extracts  from  this  address  in  chap,  xvi.,  pp.  404,  405. 


326    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

and  though  he  gave  to  legal  objections  their  full  force  and 
effect,  his  quick  apprehension  of  facts  soon  separated  the  chaff 
from  the  grain. 

As  an  equity  judge,  Sir  John  Robinson  was  no  less  entitled 
to  respect  than  in  the  Courts  of  common  law.  One  of  the  most 
important  appeals  was  the  case  of  Simpson  v.  Smith  (Error 
and  Appeal  Cases),  where  the  Court  of  Chancery  held  that 
under  the  llth  section  of  the  Chancery  Act  of  this  province 
they  might,  under  certain  circumstances,  refuse  redemption 
notwithstanding  twenty  years  had  not  elapsed  since  the  mort- 
gagor went  out  of  possession.  In  the  result  of  this  case  an 
immense  tract  of  land  and  important  interests  were  at  stake; 
it  involved  the  whole  of  the  property  known  as  Smith's  Falls. 
The  judgment  of  the  Court  of  Chancery  was  appealed  from  to 
the  four  Judges  who  at  that  time  sat  in  the  Court  of  Appeal. 
They  were  equally  divided  in  opinion,  and  the  case  was  carried 
to  England.  There  the  Court  was  unanimous,  and  the  Right 
Hon.  Pemberton  Leigh  (now  Lord  Kingsdown)  remarked,  with 
reference  to  the  judgment  of  the  Chief- Justice,  that  "  he  never 
saw  a  judgment  more  elaborately  and  carefully  reasoned,  or 
more  admirably  expressed." 

The  last  case  of  public  interest  which  occurred  during  the 
period  Sir  John  Robinson  presided  in  the  Court  of  Queen's 
Bench  was  the  famous  Anderson  Extradition  case.1  The  sym- 
pathy that  was  evinced  both  here  and  in  England  on  behalf  of 
the  fugitive,  is  of  too  recent  date  to  be  forgotten.  Opinions 
were  freely  expressed ;  public  meetings  were  held ;  newspapers 
teemed  with  leading  articles,  and  the  anti-slavery  views  of  their 
correspondents;  and  even  the  judgment  of  the  Court  was 
anticipated. 

The  following  week  the  judgment  of  the  Court  was  de- 
livered in  favour  of  the  surrender  of  the  prisoner,  M'Lean,  J., 
dissenting;  and  though  their  judgment  was  neither  in  support 
of  nor  against  slavery,  but  based  entirely  upon  the  consideration 
of  the  treaty  existing  between  the  United  States  and  Canada, 


1  John  Anderson,  a  fugitive  slave  in  the  United  States,  having  killed 
Seneca  Diggs,  who  attempted  to  arrest  him,  escaped  to  Canada.  In  1860 
his  extradition  for  murder  was  demanded  under  the  provisions  of  the 
Ashburton  treaty  of  1842. 


xii  JUDICIAL    LIFE  327 

so  strongly  prejudiced  was  public  opinion  that  tin-  popularity 
of  the  Bench  seemed  likely  to  suffer.  But,  in  the  words  of  an 
able  Fn^l ish  contemporary,  "These  Judges,  proof  against  un- 
popularity, and  unswayed  by  their  own  hitter  hatred  of  sla 
as  well  as  unsoftencd  by  their  own  feeling*  for  a  fellow-man  in 
agonising  peril,  upheld  the  law  made  to  their  hands,  and  which 
they  Ji re  sworn  faithfullv  to  administer.  /«'////  jitst'ifm.  (ii\e 
them  their  due.  Such  men  are  the  ballast  of  nations.'*''  The 
case  was  afterwards  brought  up  before  the  Court  of  Common 
IMe.-is;  and  having  been  argued  there  on  a  technical  point  that 
had  not  been  raised  in  the  Queen's  Bench,  the  prisoner  was  dis- 
charged. 

Canada  has  never  had  a  Judge-  who  so  completely  enjoyed 
the  confidence  of  the  entire  legal  profession  as  Sir  John  Robin- 
son. His  natural  affability,  his  unassumed  dignity  and  un- 
ruflled  temper,  made  him  not  onlv  revered  but  even  loved. 
By  his  brother  Judges  he  was  regarded  with  admiration,  and  no 
opinion  were  they  so  anxious  to  obtain,  or  valued  so  highly. 
The  proudest  of  the  Bar  had  never  to  complain  that  th 
eeived  no  credit  at  his  hands  for  eloquence  or  ability,  and  the 
humblest  barrister  \\ho  occupied  the  farthest  bench  had  never 
to  murmur  that  his  feeble  efforts  met  with  no  encouragement. 
Even  the  youngest  student  approached  him  with  respectful 
assurance,  and  there  are  many  who  will  recall  with  grateful 
remembrance  the  kind  and  assisting  hand  he  extended  to  them. 
To  all  he  exhibited  the  same  patient  attention  and  equality  of 
temper;  and  it  was  truly  remarked,  by  the  learned  treasurer  of 
the  Law  Society,  that  during  all  the  time  he  sat  on  the  Bench, 
xtending  over  a  period  of  nearly  the  third  of  a  century,  no 
one  could  recall  an  unkind  expression,  or  remember  a  single 
instance  of  impatience.  But  the  appreciation  of  his  judicial 
services  was  not  confined  to  the  precincts  of  the  Courts.  The 
whole  country  has  borne  testimony  to  his  worth.  People  had 
long  been  accustomed  to  look  with  confidence  to  his  decisions, 
to  regard  the  purity  of  his  administration  of  justice  as  the 
foundation  of  their  liberties,  and  his  impartiality  as  the  palla- 
dium of  their  most  cherished  rights.  Nothing  that  we  can  pen 
will  add  to  the  unsullied  purity  of  his  character,  for  never  did 


328    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

ermine  grace  truer  nobility.  Blameless  did  he  preserve  the 
chastity  of  his  oath.  With  no  cause  unheard,  no  judgment 
perverted,  "he  did  well  and  faithfully  serve  our  Lady  the 
Queen  and  her  people  in  the  office  of  Justice;  he  did  equal 
law  and  execution  of  right  to  all  the  Queen's  subjects,  rich  and 
poor,  without  having  regard  to  any  person. " 

To  pass  from  my  father's  more  purely  judicial  life 
to  his  other  interests  and  occupations,  I  may  say  that 
up  to  his  death  he  supported  to  the  utmost  of  his 
power  all  public  enterprises,  which  he  considered  to 
be  of  advantage  to  the  province. 

The  severance  of  the  ex-qffido  offices  of  President 
of  the  Executive,  and  Speaker  of  the  Legislative 
Council,  from  that  of  Chief-Justice  reduced  his 
official  salary  after  1840  by  about  one-fourth,1  and 
the  head  of  the  Bench  in  Upper  Canada  received  from 
that  date  a  smaller  income  than  the  holder  of  the 
office  had  drawn  in  the  early  days  of  the  Province. 

This,  of  course,  affected  him  seriously  in  a  pecu- 
niary sense,  and  he  writes  as  to  it  :-— 

When  I  withdrew  from  the  office  of  Attorney- General  and 
a  leading  practice  at  the  Bar,  had  I  imagined  that,  after  years 
of  increasing  labour,  I  should  be  liable  to  have  a  large  portion 
of  my  income  suddenly  withdrawn,  I  could  never  have  ventured 
to  place  myself  at  my  age  (he  was  then  thirty-eight),  in  a 
situation  so  precarious. 

But  it  has  been  the  results  of  changes  over  which  the 
Government  in  England  and  here  have  probably  felt  that  they 
could  exert  little  influence ;  and  I  have  neither  made  any  appli- 
cation to  the  Legislature  which  alone  could  give  redress,  nor 
have  I  desired  that  any  should  be  made  on  my  behalf. 

I  feel  that  I  am  within  the  truth  when  I  add 

1  £460  a  year,  or  over  £500  Canadian  currency.     See  Appendix  A.,  vi. 


xii     WELL  AND  fcf  RIDEAU  CANALS 

that  he  regretted  the  reduction  in  the  emoluments 
pertaining  to  the  post  of  Chief-Justice  as  much  upon 
public  as  personal  grounds,  as  it  affected  the  ability 
of  the  holder  of  it,  when  not  a  wealthy  man,  to  sup- 
port many  objects  of  public  utility  to  the  same 
extent  which  had  formerly  been  possible. 

He  took  a  deep  interest  in  the  promotion  of  the 
Welland  Canal,  and  also,  though  not  to  the  same 
direct  extent,  in  the  Rideau  Canal. 

The  directors  of  the  former  canal  wrote  to  him 
thus  on  the  5th  June  18:3,**  :— 

As  one  of  the  first  and  most  efficient  supporters  of  the 
Welland  Canal,  the  Board  of  Directors  have  the  satisfaction  to 
inform  you  that  for  the  purpose  of  testing  its  great  importance 
as  a  public  work,  it  is  now  completed,  though  much  has  yet  to 
be  done  to  make  it  such  as  it  should  be  for  the  greaK>l 
usefulness.  .  .  . 

With  a  full  knowledge  of  the  great  interests  of  the  country, 
and  the  beneficial  effect  of  this  work  upon  its  prosperity,  you 
were  its  warm  and  decided  advocate. 

When  the  prospect  of  its  success  was  clouded  with  doubt, 
when  many  of  its  friends  were  appalled,  and  some  relaxed  their 
efforts  to  sustain  it,  the  Board  always  placed  a  confident  reli- 
ance on  your  powerful  aid,  and  were  never  disappointed.  .  .  . 

On  behalf  of  the  country,  as  well  as  the  stockholders,  we 
offer  to  you  our  grateful  acknowledgments  of  your  efficient  and 
undeviating  support  in  the  most  trying  emergencies  during 
the  whole  time  this  great  work  has  been  in  progress  to  its 
accomplishment. 

With  the  highest  respect  and  esteem, 

We  are,  sir,  your  most  obedient  servants, 
A.   MA<  IJOXKLL, 
GFO.  KEEPER, 


OGDEN  CREIGHTON, 
W.  BUTLER, 
W.  ELLIOTT, 


Directors. 


330    SIR  JOHN  EEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Speaking,  in  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill,"  of 
the  importance  of  the  Welland  and  Rideau  Canals, 
he  says : — 

Upper  Canada  has  been  greatly  favoured  by  the  liberality 
of  the  parent  State.  The  Welland  Canal  was  assisted  by  a  loan 
of  X°50,000 ;  and  the  Rideau  Canal  was  constructed  wholly  at 
the  charge  of  Great  Britain.  The  former  work  has  been  for 
some  time  completed,  and  in  use,  though  a  large  expenditure  is 
required  for  substituting  stone  locks  instead  of  the  wooden 
ones,  which  it  was  necessary  to  be  content  with  in  the  first 
instance.  In  its  present  state,  it  effectually  overcomes  the  ob- 
structions presented  by  the  Falls  of  Niagara  to  the  communi- 
cation between  Lakes  Ontario  and  Erie.  The  income  derived 
from  it  has  probably  doubled  in  a  twelvemonth.  It  is  clear 
that  under  such  circumstances  reimbursement,  though  it  may 
be  distant,  is  certain. 

The  Rideau  Canal  was  undertaken  while  the  Duke  of  Wel- 
lington was  in  office,  and  with  a  view  chiefly  to  the  military 
defence  of  the  province.  Its  value  in  that  respect  is  apparent. 
It  secures  the  defence  of  Canada,  up  to  Kingston,  by  affording 
a  passage  for  troops  and  military  and  naval  stores,  independent 
of  the  St.  Lawrence,  and  it  remedies  the  evil  of  that  singular 
arrangement  by  which  a  small  streamlet  parting  from  the 
waters  of  the  St.  Lawrence  and  coursing  round  Barnhart's 
Island  was  accepted  as  the  main  channel  of  the  river,  though 
it  is  easily  fordable  by  persons  on  horseback  or  on  foot :  and 
the  effect  is  to  bring  us  almost  within  pistol  shot  of  what  has 
thus  been  made  the  territory  of  the  United  States. 

I  think  the  time  is  not  distant  when  it  will  cause  some 
feeling  of  regret  that  the  officer  who  planned  it,  and  with  such 
remarkable  energy  and  spirit  carried  it  forward  to  its  comple- 
tion, should  have  died  without  receiving  some  mark  of  honour 
from  his  country.  I  speak  of  the  late  Colonel  By.1 

In  the  American  war  of  1812,  it  cost,  I  believe,  upwards  of 
<£°500,000  to  build  one  ship  of  war  on  Lake  Ontario;  the 
heaviest  part  of  the  expense  being  occasioned  by  the  transpor- 

1  Bytown  (now  Ottawa),  was  called  after  Colonel  By,  R.E.,  who 
planned  this  work.  See  note,  p.  310. 


xii  LAKE   NAVIGATION  331 

tation  of  her  stores  and  equipment  from  Montreal  to  Kingston, 
which  two  points  are  now  connected  by  the  Rideau  Canal. 

He  actively  encouraged  the  improvement  of  water 
communication  on  the  Lakes. 

Captain  Richardson — one  of  the  well-known  pio- 
neers of  steam  navigation  on  Lake  Ontario,  and 
who,  in  1842,  named  the  steamer  which  for  some 
years  plied  between  Toronto  and  Niagara  The  Chief- 
Justice  Robinson,  thus  warmly  acknowledges  the 
support  he  received  from  him  :— 

I  came  to  this  country  with  two  letters  of  introduction. 
The  one  failed  me,  the  other  \\as  invaluable.  I  struggled  for 
years  ineffectually,  until  your  sound  advice  and  generous  sup- 
port enabled  me  to  get  up  a  steamboat. 

You  know  how  my  enterprise  would  have  been  crushed  but 
for  your  generous  friendship  in  energetically  coming  to  my  rescue. 

Successful  at  last,  and  prosperous  for  many  years,  still  I 
often  experienced  many  difficulties,  and  in  all  I  unhesitatingly 
flew  to  you  for  advice,  and  ever  met  the  same  friendly  support. 

In  n i_  m  and  sorrow  your  heart  seemed  to  warm  the 

more  towards  me. 

For  some  years  he  was  president  of  the  Canadian 
Institute  in  Toronto,  and  contributed  towards  its 
building  fund  and  library. 

He  took  a  deep  interest  in  the  "  Society  for  the 
Propagation  of  the  Gospel  in  Foreign  Parts,"  a 
society  most  liberal  in  its  assistance  to  Canada,  and 
which  in  1839  was  sustaining  very  many  of  its  mis- 
sionaries. Of  this  he  was  for  some  years  one  of  the 
treasurers  for  Upper  Canada  and  afterwards  vice- 
president. 

He  was  also  interested  in  the  "  Society  for  the 
Promotion  of  Christian  Knowledge,"  and  in  the 


332    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

"  Church  Society  of  the  Diocese  of  Toronto,"  founded 
chiefly  through  the  efforts  of  Dr.  Strachan. 

The  object  of  this  latter  society  was  to  "  promote 
the  advancement  of  religion  through  the  ministry  of 
the  Church  of  England  "  by  the  dissemination  of  the 
Scriptures,  by  assisting  resident  and  travelling  mis- 
sionaries, the  clergy  and  their  families,  by  promoting 
Sunday  and  parochial  schools,  and  in  various  other 
ways. 

In  a  letter  addressed  to  Dr.  Strachan  on  llth 
December  1841,  when  the  establishment  of  this 
society  was  being  discussed,  he  urges  the  necessity 
that  existed,  under  the  circumstances  of  Upper 
Canada,  for  the  friends  of  the  Church  to  turn  their 
attention  without  delay  to  the  best  means  of  provid- 
ing for  its  support  and  increase,  and  dwelt  upon  the 
advantage  of  having  a  lay  committee  in  the  society— 

What  I  contemplate  (he  writes)  is  the  promoting  the  sup- 
port of  the  Church  of  England  in  a  spirit  and  by  measures 
which  shall  be  wholly  unexceptionable;  giving  no  just  cause  of 
offence  or  jealousy  to  any,  but  with  a  constancy  and  fidelity 
that  shall  not  abate  in  the  slightest  degree  from  an  appre- 
hension of  what  persons,  who  choose  to  act  in  an  unchristian 
and  unreasonable  spirit,  may  think,  or  say,  or  do. 

Of  the  above  society,  he  was  a  vice-president,  and 
also  one  of  the  lay  committee  which  was  formed. 

In  alluding  to  his  having  moved  two  resolutions 
on  the  28th  April  1842,  when  the  society  was  for- 
mally founded,  the  Church  newspaper  says  : — 

He  (the  Chief-Justice)  avowed  his  determination  to  devote 
himself,  with  an  earnest  zeal,  to  the  furtherance  of  the  import- 
ant object  of  which  his  own  provident  and  comprehensive  mind 
had  already  seen  the  necessity ;  and  for  carrying  out  which  he 
had  himself  proposed  a  scheme  of  the  most  permanent  and  ex- 
pansive character. 


xn  CHURCH   WORK 

The  good  work  done  by  this  society  is  well  known 
in  Upper  Canada. 

In  efforts  to  procure  an  adequate  endowment  for 
the  see  of  Toronto,  he  exerted  himself  actively ;  and, 
in  short,  it  may  be  said  that  in  all  matters  connected 
with  the  Church,  while  keeping  to  what  was  befitting 
his  position  on  the  Bench,  he  was  always  ready  to 
give  his  utmost  support  and  assistance. 

Very  frequently  his  advice  on  these  matters  was 
sought  by  Bishop  Strachan. 

In  certain  respects  their  minds  were  differently 
constituted,  though  on  many  subjects  they  cordially 
agreed.  This  the  following  extracts  from  letters 
illustrate : — 

I  have  read  your  Lordship's  proposed  letter  carefully,  but 
have  made  no  change  in  it,  because  I  can  understand  that  if 
your  Lordship  adopts  the  course,  you  will  determine  to  carry  it 
out  in  the  spirit  in  which  it  is  begun — that  you  will  make  the 
design  and  execution  correspond. 

I  say  this  with  reference  to  many  expressions  which  read 
strong- &nd  threatening-;  and  which,  as  human  nature  is  generally 
constituted,  would  drive  those  who  are  addressed  to  persevere  in 
their  course  rather  than  otherwise — in  fact,  scarcely  leave  it  in 
their  power  to  recede  from  it.  ...  Whether  anything  is  to  be 
effected  by  threatening  a  violent  opposition  is  matter  of  opinion 
on  which  people  will  differ.  .  .  .  Still  that  can  exempt  no  one 
from  the  obligation  to  do  what  he  believes  to  be  right.  .  .  . 

I  have  read  over  your  Lordship's  pastoral  letter  with  very 
great  and  sincere  pleasure,  and  have  seldom  or  never  seen  in 
any  paper  so  little  that  I  would  desire  to  see  changed,  either  as 
to  the  matter  or  the  form  of  words.  It  is  very  characteristic, 
clear  and  unflinching,  earnest  and  practical.  I  have  no  doubt 
it  will  be  very  cordially  received  by  the  members  of  the  Church 
and  warmly  seconded.  I  send  a  scrap  which  may  come  in  per- 
haps in  place  of  a  sentence  on  the  third  page. 


334    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

I  find  the  thanks  of  the  Church  Society  conveyed 
to  him  formally  in  1846  for  the  grant  of  1|  acres  ot 
land  in  the  village  of  St.  Albans  for  the  site  of  a 
church  there,  and  again  in  1849  for  that  of  about  ten 
acres  of  land  east  of  the  Don  towards  the  endowment 
of  the  living  of  Trinity  Church,  Toronto. 

Already,  in  chapter  vii.,  I  have  mentioned  a  grant 
for  the  site  of  a  Methodist  Church  at  Holland 
Landing. 

But  I  will  refer  no  further  to  this  subject,  nor  to 
his  charitable  donations  of  various  kinds,  for  I  feel 
that  he  would  not  himself  have  desired  it. 

His  relations  with  those  who  represented  the 
Queen  in  the  colony  were,  of  necessity,  less  constant 
and  intimate  after  his  connection  with  the  Executive 
Council  and  the  Legislature  had  ceased,  but  he  re- 
tained the  regard  and  confidence  of  them  all — from 
Sir  Charles  Bagot  to  Lord  Monck — until  his  death. 

The  opinions  of  the  representatives  of  the  Crown 
with  whom  he  had  worked  in  the  earlier  and  more 
troublous  times  of  Canada  must  have  been  more 
than  gratifying  to  him. 

Those  of  Sir  Gordon  Drummond  and  of  Lord 
Seaton  appear  sufficiently  in  this  memoir. 

Sir  Francis  Head  writes  thus  in  his  work,  "  The 
Emigrant,"  published  in  1846  : — 

Of  Chief-Justice  Robinson's  character  I  will  only  allow 
myself  briefly  to  say,  that  a  combination  of  such  strong  re- 
ligious and  moral  principles,  modesty  of  mind,  and  such  in- 
stinctive talent  for  speaking  and  writing,  I  have  never  before 
been  acquainted  with ;  that  every  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Upper 
Canada  has,  for  the  last  twenty-five  years,  expressed  an  opinion 
of  this  nature ;  and  that,  by  general  acclamation,  it  would,  I 
firmly  believe,  be  acknowledged  by  every  man  in  our  North 
American  Colonies  whose  opinion  is  of  any  value. 


xii         VISIT  TO   PETERBOROUGH 

And,  in  a  letter  to  my  father,  Sir  George  Arthur 

says :— 

...  I  believe  few  men  placed  in  so  elevated  a  position,  in  a 
community  so  long  agitated  by  political  ti-oling.  would  have 
sustained  for  so  many  years,  amongst  all  classes,  a  character  for 
ability,  industry,  and  purity  of  purpose,  with  a  devotion  to  the 
best  interests  of  your  native  country,  which, however  much  per- 
sons may  conscientiously  differ  from  you  on  political  points, 
ought  at  least  to  warm  the  heart  of  every  man  towards  you 
who  truly  regards  Canada  as  his  home. 

In  October  1843  he  paid  a  visit  to  the  town  of 
Peterborough  in  Upper  Canada,  five  years  after  the 
death  of  his  brother  Peter  who  had  founded  it,  and 
who  died,  unmarried,  in  Toronto  in  1838. 

On  this  occasion  he  was  welcomed  by  an  address 
of  150  of  the  inhabitants  as  "One  whose  interests  in 
the  welfare  of  the  place  is  of  long  duration,  and  as  the 
representative  of  him  to  whom  our  flourishing  town 
owes  its  foundation  and  its  name." 

He  mentions  having  visited  Peterborough  also  in 
1827  together  with  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland,  Bishop 
Macdonell,  Colonel  Talbot  (well  known  in  connection 
with  the  Talbot  Settlement  in  Western  Canada),  his 
brother  Peter  Robinson,  and  Colonel  Hillier,  when  it 
consisted  of  but  a  few  log  houses. 

Mrs.  E.  S.  Dunlop  thus  alludes  to  this  visit : *- 

The  immigrants  formed  a  line  on  each  side  of  the  road  for 
a  quarter  of  a  mile  to  receive  the  Governor  and  his  party,  who 
were  in  five  sleighs.  At  the  time  it  was  settled  at  a  dinner 
party  (given  by  the  governor)  that  the  village  should  be  called 


1  "  Our  Forest  Home/'  being  correspondence  (privately  published)  of 
the  late  Francis  Stewart,  by  Mrs.  E.  S.  Dunlop. 


336    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Peterborough  in   honour   of   Colonel    Peter    Robinson.1     The 
name  was  suggested  by  my  mother. 

Mrs.  Dunlop's  mother  (Mrs.  Stewart)  was  the 
wife  of  Mr.  Francis  Stewart,  who  had  emigrated  from 
Scotland  and  settled  at  Auburn  in  the  parish  of 
Douro,  near  where  Peterborough  now  stands,  and  her 
husband,  writing  of  Peter  Robinson's  Emigrants  on 
July  20,  1826,  to  the  Rev.  Mr.  Crowley,  says  :— 

I  have  always  found  them  satisfied  and  happy.  Some  have 
told  me  with  tears  in  their  eyes,  that  they  never  knew  what 
happiness  was  until  now.  I  conceive  that  this  is  greatly  owing 
to  the  great  care  of  Mr.  Robinson  in  regard  to  their  complaints 
and  studying  their  wants. 

Colonel  Talbot,  who  was  of  the  party  with  my 
father  on  the  above  visit  to  Peterborough,  was  on  the 
staff  of  Colonel  Simcoe,  then  Governor  of  Upper 
Canada,  when  he  founded  York,  now  Toronto,  in  the 
last  century.  A  brother  of  Lord  Talbot  of  Malahide, 
he  and  the  future  Duke  of  Wellington  had  at  one 
time  been  A.D.C.'s  together  on  the  staff  of  the 
Lord-Lieutenant  of  Ireland.  Subsequently,  when 
quartered  in  Canada,  Colonel  Talbot  determined  to 
form  a  settlement — well  known  since  as  the  "  Talbot 
Settlement  "-—in  the  western  district,  and  built  near 
Port  Talbot,  on  Lake  Erie,  a  log-house,  called 
"  Malahide  Castle." 

With  ample  means,  but  devoted  to  the  wild  life 
of  the  bush,  he  lived  for  years  after  his  first  arrival 
as  an  almost  absolute  ruler  among  his  settlers,  miles 
from  any  other  point  of  civilisation,  and  (it  is  said) 
marrying  and  baptizing  his  own  people,  and  doing 

1  He  was  colonel  in  the  Canadian  Militia.     As  to  the  Irish  emigrants 
he  brought  out  to  Canada  see  chap.  vi. 


xii  COLOXKI,  TAIJ50T  337 

with  his  own  hands  much  of  his  farm  and  household 
work.      For  many  years  he  paid  an  annual  visit  to  my 
father  in  Toronto,  and  I  perfectly  recollect,  as  a  ! 
seeing  him  at  Beverley  House. 

Below  I  ijive  some  extracts  from  his  letters  to  my 
father,  and  may  mention  with  regard  to  the  first,  that 
the  date  of  keeping  the  Talhot  anniversary  to  which 
it  alludes,  was  subsequently  altered  by  him  to  Friday, 
the  20th  May,  "  so  that  they  can  dance  into  the  21st, 
the  proper  day." 

It  will  be  seen,  from  the  year  of  the  letter,  that 
this  was  the  jubilee,  or  fiftieth  year,  of  his  arrival  with 
Governor  Simcoe  in  Upper  Canada. 

Colonel  Talbot  died  in  18,5:5,  in  his  eighty-second 
year,  having  shortly  before  this  visited  England  for 
the  last  time. 

POUT  TALimr,   ~th  J/nntnri/  1842. 

MY  DEA1  f'niKK, — In  my  last  letter  I  forgot  to  request 
that,  in  your  arrangement  for  the  Spring  Circuit,  you  would 
not  let  the  London  Court  interfere  with  the  Talbot  Anniver 
which  will  be  on  Monday  the  23rd  May — as  the  right  day,  the 
21st,  will  be  on  Saturday,  and  as  I  only  once  a  year  appear  on 
the  stage,  the  fuller  the  house,  the  more  gratifying.  I  had  but 
>ne  letter  by  the  last  packet,  the  1st  Dec-cm  i 

The  Queen  Dowager  better — she  gave  the  messenger  who 
>rought  the  account  of  the  birth  of  the  Prince  of  Wales  ^lOO.1 
— Believe  me,  very  simvivlv  vours,  THOMAS  TALHOT. 

PMIIT  TALBOT,  llth  I  :»4i». 

MY  Di  AH  Cim.i, —  Your  kind  letter  of  the  6th  instant  was,  1 
r.in  assure  you,  a  great  treat.  Little  did  I  think,  when  I  first 
arrived  in  Upper  Canada,  with  Governor  Simcoe,  in  1792,  that 
I  should  live  to  see  the  present  time.  I  believe  my  friend 
Allan2  and  myself  are  the  only  two  left. 

1  The  present  Kinjr  Kilwanl  VII. 

-  William  Allan,  father  of  the  late  Him.  (i.  \\  .  Allan,  of  Moss  Park, 
Toronto. 


338    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

I  have  got  into  two  rooms  of  my  new  house — the  walls  are 
dry,  but  the  chimneys  smoke  most  aggravatingly,  but  I  keep 
doors  and  windows  open.  I  enjoy  good  health,  but  feel  the 
cold  more  than  I  did  in  my  younger  days. 

I  should  be  delighted  if  you  could  muster  nerve,  and  drive 
to  Port  Talbot  when  the  sleighing  is  good,  as  I  am  actually 
lonesome. 

By  a  letter  received  from  the  Aireys,  I  understand  that 
Mrs.  Airey^s  youngest  brother  was  about  to  be  married  to  a 
Miss  Le  Froy.  Is  she  a  sister  of  your  Le  Froy^s  ? 1 

With  my  most  affectionate  regards  to  Mrs.  Robinson,  and 
every  individual  of  your  family, — I  remain,  always  sincerely 
yours,  THOMAS  TALHOT. 

To  turn  to  my  father's  home  life. 

Between  the  years  1843  and  1848  five  of  his 
children  were  married. 

Augusta,  on  31st  October  1844,  to  Captain  J.  M. 
Strachan. 

Lukin,  on  15th  May  1845,  to  Elizabeth  Arnold. 

Emily,  on  16th  April  1846,  to  Captain  J.  H. 
Lefroy,  R.A. 

Louisa,  on  the  same  date,  to  G.  W.  Allan,  and 
John  Beverley,  on  30th  June  1847,  to  Mary  Jane 
Hagerman.  (See  Appendix  B.) 

An  extract  from  a  letter  of  my  father's  to  Mr. 
Berthon,  of  Toronto,  a  portrait  painter  well  known 
in  Canada,  which  I  give  below,  is  connected  with 
the  marriage  of  these  three  daughters.  The  picture 
alluded  to  in  it  was  a  gift  to  my  mother  from  her 
three  sons-in-law,  on  the  day  her  daughters  Emily 
and  Louisa  were  married,  and  she  and  my  father 
heard  of  it  for  the  first  time  on  their  return  from 


1  A  cousin — the  grand-daughter  of  Chief  Justice  Lefroy.     I  give  the 
spelling  Le  Froy  as  in  Colonel  Talbot's  letter. 


xii  HOMK   LIFE  339 

the  marriage  service  at  the  Cathedral,  on  the  16th 
April  1846. 

I  cannot  delay  in  thanking  you  for  the  very  great  pit 
which  Mrs.  Robinson  and  I  have  received  from  vour  charming 
picture,  and  we  are  extremely  obliged  to  you  for  the  /eal  and 
interest  with  which  yon  must  have  entered  into  the  views  of  the 
conspirators,  in  order  to  fulfil  so  happily  what  was  so  kindly 
planned.  Our  dear  little  girls  arc,  as  we  think,  faithfully  and 
characteristically  portrayed. 

My  father  was,  from  inclination,  very  hospitable, 
and  during  the  years  dealt  with  in  this  chapter, 
when  Toronto  was  much  smaller  than  it  now  is, 
Beverley  House  was  one  of  the  centres  of  much  that 
went  on  in  it.  A  garrison  of  some  size,  a  large  family 
connection,  and  strangers  often  passing  through  with 
letters  of  introduction,  made  social  gatherings  fre- 
quent, and  have  left  with  me  a  recollection  of  meeting 
many  people  who  were  then,  or  became  afterwards, 
well  known  in  the  world. 

Few,  I  think,  have  enjoyed  more  uninterrupted 
married  happiness,  through  many  years,  than  my 
father  did.  Writing  to  my  mother  from  Cobourg  on 
the  5th  June  1847,  he  says : — 

You  do  not  forget,  I  am  sure,  more  than  I  do,  that  we  have 
this  day  been  married  thirty  years,  the  full  term  of  a  generation. 
In  all  things  how  good  God  has  been  to  us.  Ours  has  been  no 
common  lot. 

This  happiness  was,  I  need  scarcely  say,  mainly 
due  to  the  admirable  character  of  my  mother,  who 
combined  judgment  and  decision  with  great  unsel- 
fishness, and  no  one  could  have  acknowledged  her 
value  to  him,  in  every  relation  of  life,  more  gratefully 


340    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

than  my  father.     Sir  Henry  Lefroy,  writing  of  the 
year  1846  in  Toronto,  says— 

The  brightness  of  Beverley  House  (at  that  period)  cannot 
be  depicted.  Mrs.  Robinson,  then  about  fifty-two,  still  retained 
much  of  the  great  beauty  of  her  youth.  She  had  a  most 
charming  manner. 

Looking  back,  I  have  often  felt  that  as  children 
we  were  exceptionally  fortunate  in  our  home. 

Up  to  1852  there  had  been  no  break  in  the  family 
circle.  The  first  great  sorrow  of  my  father's  married 
life  was  the  death  in  that  year  of  his  daughter  Louisa 
— Mrs.  Allan — when  travelling  with  her  husband  in 
Italy.  She  was  buried  in  the  Protestant  Cemetery, 
Rome. 

A  few  years  afterwards  (1859)  his  daughter  Emily 
— Mrs.  Lefroy — died,  in  London.  She  was  buried 
in  Crondall  Churchyard,  Hampshire,  not  far  from 
Itchel  (now  Ewshott)  House — the  family  home  of 
the  Lefroys. 

In  1850,  the  statutes  of  the  Bath  having  been 
modified  so  as  to  admit  of  the  Order  being  granted 
for  civil  as  well  as  military  services,  Lord  Elgin, 
Governor- General  of  Canada,  was  desired  to  inquire 
if  it  would  be  acceptable  to  my  father  to  be  made  a 
companion  of  the  Order — and  he  was  shortly  after- 
wards gazetted  a  C.B. 

In  May  1851  he  went  for  a  short  trip  to  Virginia, 
meeting  in  Richmond  his  daughter  Mrs.  Allan,  and 
her  husband,  who  were  on  their  return  from  Cuba. 

On  this  trip  he  visited  Washington,  Fredericks- 
burgh,  Richmond,  Williamsburgh,  and  Yorktown. 
Some  of  these  places  had  a  special  interest  for  him. 


xii  VISIT  TO  VIRGINIA  341 

At  Williamsburgh  he  went  over  William  and  Mary 
College,  of  which  his  ancestor  Christopher  Robinson 
had  been  a  trustee  under  the  original  charter  of  ir*!W, 
and  where  his  father  had  been  educated. 

At  Yorktown  he  saw  the  scene  of  the  siege,  and 
of  the  surrender  of  Lord  Cornwallis's  army,  of  which 
his  father's  regiment  formed  a  part,  in  1781 — since 
which  time  none  of  his  descendants  had  been  in 
Virginia. 

On  a  steamer  upon  the  river  Potomac  between 
Washington  and  Fredericksburgh  he  was  introduced 
to  Mr.  Conway  Robinson  (of  the  Vineyard  near 
Washington),  a  leading  member  of  the  bar,  and  chair- 
man of  the  Executive  Committee  of  the  Virginia 
Historical  Society. 

He  also  met  Mr.  Richard  Randolph  and  several 
other  well-known  Virginians,  some  of  whom  were 
connected  with  branches  of  his  father's  family,  and 
from  whom  he  received  much  kindness  and  hos- 
pitality. 

"  I  found  myself  at  once,"  he  says,  "among 
friends  and  connections. 

Mr.  Conway  Robinson,  descended  himself,  I 
believe,  from  a  Yorkshire  family,  and  most  probably 
from  a  relation  of  Christopher  Robinson  of  Hewick. 
corresponded  with  him  frequently  afterwards,  and 
procured  for  him,  and  subsequently  for  me  (in  1875) 
when  I  visited  him  at  the  Vineyard,  many  interesting 
particulars  connected  with  our  family. 


CHAPTER  XIII 

UNIVERSITIES   OF   KING'S   COLLEGE    AND 
TRINITY   COLLEGE 

Foundation  of  King's  College  and  Trinity  College  and  his  association 
with  them  —  Created  a  Baronet  —  Letters  from  the  Duke  of 
Newcastle  and  Lord  Seaton — Congratulations  of  the  Bar — Outbreak 
of  the  Crimean  War. 

IN  the  establishment  in  Toronto  of  the  University  of 
King's  College,  now  the  University  of  Toronto,  and 
subsequently  in  that  of  Trinity  College,  my  father 
took  a  great  interest. 

On  this  account,  and  because  their  histories  are 
connected,  I  will  refer  especially  to  the  foundation  of 
these  two  Universities. 

In  1789  the  United  Empire  Loyalists  who,  driven 
from  the  United  States,  had  settled  in  Canada, 
applied  to  the  Government  to  afford  them  religious 
and  secular  education  for  their  children,  which  after- 
wards General  Simcoe,  the  first  Lieutenant-Governor 
of  Upper  Canada,  exerted  himself  to  procure  for 
them. 

His  views  were  that,  in  addition  to  grammar 
schools,  a  university  was  required,  to  inculcate 
"  sound  religious  principles,  pure  morals,  and  refined 
manners."  1 

In  1797  the  Legislature  of  Upper  Canada  ad- 
dressed the  Crown,  praying  that  lands  might  be 
appropriated  for  the  support  of  grammar  schools 


1  Letter  to  the  Bishop  of  Quebec,  30th  April  1795. 

342 


KIXC.'S  COLLEGE  :u:* 

and  of  a  university,  *k  for  the  instruction  of  youth  in 
the  different  branches  of  liberal  knowledge." 

It  is  to  be  observed  here,  and  it  is  important,  that 
the  Legislature  itself,  in  this  address,  did  not  directly 
desire  that  religious  instruction  should  be  included  in 
the  University  course;  and  to  accuse  it,  therefore 

been  done,  of  a  breach  of  faith  in  ultimately 
excluding  it,  does  not  seem  justified  ;  but  at  this 
time  religious  instruction  went  hand  in  hand  with 
secular  in  all  the  great  I  Tni versities  of  the  British 
Dominions. 

The  King,  in  reply  to  the  address,  granted  an 
appropriation  of  lands  for  the  support  of  grammar 
schools,  and  also  of  higher  seminaries  (such  as  univer- 
sities) for  the  "  promotion  of  religious  and  moral 
learning  and  the  study  of  the  arts  and  sciences/'  .  .  . 
and  it  was  the  prospect  thus  opening  in  connection 
with  both  religious  and  secular  education  which 
brought  the  future  Bishop  Strachan  to  the  colony. 

Grammar  schools  were  before  long  in  operation, 
but  it  was  some  years  before  the  circumstances  of 
the  colony  and  an  income  from  the  interest  on  the  sale 
of  lands,  justified  a  University  charter  being  granted. 
This,  chiefly  through  the  exertions  of  Sir  Peregrine 
Maitland  and  Dr.  Strachan,  was  secured  in  1827. 

It  established  '4  King's  College  "  at  York,  in  Upper 
Canada,  "  for  the  education  and  instruction  of  youth 
and  students  in  arts  and  faculties,"  the  recital  stating 
that  such  establishment  "  for  the  education  of  youth 
in  the  principles  of  the  Christian  religion,  and  for 
their  instruction  in  the  various  branches  of  science 
and  literature  which  are  taught  in  our  Universities  in 
this  kingdom  (the  United  Kingdom)  would  greatly 
conduce  to  the  welfare  of  our  said  province." 


344     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

But,  although  the  charter  was  thus  obtained  in 
1827,  a  delay  of  sixteen  years  occurred  before  the 
University  could  be  built  and  opened,  owing  chiefly 
to  the  following  causes.  Sir  Peregrine  Maitland,  an 
active  supporter  of  it,  had  been  transferred  to  another 
government ;  the  all-absorbing  events  of  the  Re- 
bellion and  the  Union  of  the  Canadas  occurred,  and 
last,  though  not  least,  a  feeling  was  growing  up 
that  the  National  Church  of  England  could  not, 
from  many  circumstances,  be  made  the  National 
Church  of  Canada,  that  feeling  which  led  subsequently 
to  the  secularisation  of  the  Clergy  Reserves. 

Controversy  respecting  the  provisions  of  the 
charter  went  on  continually  in  Parliament  and  in 
the  press,  these  provisions  being  looked  upon  as 
giving  too  much  influence  to  the  Anglican  Church, 
and  the  terms  of  the  charter  were,  in  consequence, 
much  modified,1  chiefly  in  the  direction  of  reducing 
ecclesiastical  influence  in  the  council  of  the  college. 
The  Judges  of  the  Queen's  Bench  were  appointed 
visitors  instead  of  the  Bishop  of  the  diocese ;  the 
President  was  not  necessarily  to  be  an  ecclesiastic  ; 
several  of  the  higher  officials  of  the  Government 
were  to  have  seats  on  the  Council  in  order  to  give 
lay  influence ;  and  the  one  connection  now  left  with 
the  Church  of  England  was  that  there  was  a  Pro- 
fessor of  Divinity  of  that  Church,  and  that  chapel 
services  in  accordance  with  the  prayer-book  of  the 
Church  were  conducted  for  those  students  who 
belonged  to  it,  others  not  being  required  to  attend. 

It  was  under  this  modified  charter  that  King's 
College  opened  in  1843,  amply  endowed  with  the 
proceeds  of  225,944  acres  of  valuable  land. 

1  By  7  William  IV.  c.  16.     Rev.  Stat.  U.C.,  p.  811. 


xin  KIXC.S  (OLLKC.K 

My  father  never  approved  of  the  modifications 
which  had  been  made  in  the  charter. 

Speaking  at  the  time  (184:5)  of  the  opening  of  the 
college,  he  says  : — 

I  feel  a  satisfaction — melancholy  indeed  it  is,  because  m\ 
humble  efforts  were  unavailing,  but  a  satisfaction  which  I  could 
unwillingly  have  foregone — that  I  was  led,  by  no  motive,  ever 
to  concur  in  those  alterations  which  deprived  this  University  of 
a  distinctly  religious  character. 

It  is   very  true  that  we  are  not  in  England,  Ireland,  or 

Scotland,  and  it  mav  be  imagined  that  a   less  sound  feeling,  in 

•  f  such  momentous  importance,  is  characteristic  of  this 

country.      If  it  be  so,  it  is  more  to  be  deplored  than  any  other 

error. 

But  the  members  of  the  three  largest  Christian  communities 
in  Upper  Canada,  unconnected  with  the  Church  of  England, 
_nven  evidence  of  very  different  views.  They  have  each 
given  the  strongest  proof  that  what  they  desire  in  their  own 
case  is  a  college  which  shall  be  avowedlv  in  strict  and  un- 
doubted communion  with  their  own  persuasion.  If  this  had 
not  been  the  feeling,  we  should  not  have  heard  of  Queen's 
College — or  the  colleges  of  Victoria  or  Regiopolis.  In  tlii^ 
they  have  judged  soundly  of  human  nature,  and  yielded  an 
honest  testimony  to  what  their  consciences  approved. 

I  must  explain  the  above  remarks  by  saying  that 
the  evident  tendency  to  secularise  totally  education 
in  King's  College  had  not  appealed  much  more  to 
many  members  of  the  Church  of  Scotland,  or  of  the 
\Vesleyan  or  Roman  Catholic  Churches,  in  Upper 
Canada,  than  to  those  of  the  Anglican. 

They  could  not  feel — as  was  but  natural — per- 
fectly satisfied  with  any  religious  teaching  in  the 
college  other  than  that  of  their  own  Church  ;  and 
would  have  welcomed  any  Government  measure 
which  diverted  part  of  the  college  endowment  + 


346    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

education  in  connection  with  their  own  communion ; 
but  the  severance  of  religious  instruction  from  Uni- 
versity teaching  was  not  what  they  approved.  The 
members  of  the  Church  of  Scotland  established 
"  Queen's  College  "  at  Kingston  in  connection  with 
their  own  Church,  the  Wesleyans  "Victoria  College" 
at  Coburg,  and  the  Roman  Catholics  "  Regiopolis 
College"  at  Kingston. 

Though  my  father  had  been  opposed  to  the 
modifications  made  in  the  charter  of  King's  College, 
he  rejoiced  at  the  successful  completion  of  the  efforts 
to  open  the  University,  of  which,  as  Chief- Justice,  he 
now  became  a  visitor.  Religious  instruction  was 
still  to  be  given  within  its  walls,  and  he  hoped  that 
the  charter  would  not  be  further  interfered  with. 

He  was  now  instrumental  in  obtaining  for  King's 
College  the  Wellington  Scholarships,  afterwards  re- 
moved to  Trinity  College,  and  to  which  I  shall  allude 
further  on,  and  my  brother  Christopher 1  was  sent  to 
the  college,  where  he  graduated,  and  become  one  of 
its  gold  medallists. 

At  its  formal  opening  my  father  expressed  the 
hope  that  with  the  establishment  of  the  University 
there  would  grow  up  in  Canada  "  something  of  the 
traditional  spirit  and  elevation  of  character  which, 
insensibly  working  in  her  noble  Universities,  have 
made  England  what  she  is." 

But  the  charter  was  to  be  yet  further,  and  very 
radically  altered. 

Under  the  conditions  of  party  and  religious  feeling 
in  Upper  Canada,  it  was  deemed  impossible  by  the 

1  Christopher  Robinson,  K.C.,  Beverley  House,  Toronto. 


xni  KING'S  COLLEGE  :ur 

Legislature  to  continue  to  maintain,  from  public  funds, 
a  University  in  connection  with  the  Anglican  Church, 
or  any  form  of  religious  teaching. 

In  1849,  by  an  Act  (12  Viet.  c.  8'J),  which  was 
not  interfered  with  by  the  Crown,  and  in  order,  as 
the  Act  purported,  that  <k  the  just  rights  and  privi- 
leges of  all  may  be  maintained  without  offence  to 
the  religious  opinions  of  any,"  it  was  provided  that 
henceforth  education  in  King's  College  was  to  be 
exclusively  secular.  The  name  of  "  King's  College  " 
was  also  altered  to  that  of  "The  rniversity  of 
Toronto." 

No  **  minister,  ecclesiastic,  or  teacher,  under  and 
according  to  any  form  or  profession  of  religious  faith 
or  worship  whatsoever  "  was  to  have  a  scat  in  the 
"  Senate/'  as  the  governing  body  was  to  be  termed : 
no  religious  observances  were  to  be  imposed  in  the 
College,  and  no  Professorship  of  Divinity  allowed. 

When  all  religious  teaching  was  thus  excluded 
from  the  University  of  King's  College,  some  thought 
that  it  would  sufficiently  meet  the  views  of  those 
opposed  to  this  measure  if  they  were  enabled — by 
public  grants  in  aid  —  to  educate  their  youth  in 
theology  outside  its  walls. 

My  father,  writing  as  to  this  view,  says  :— 

Some  would  seem  to  think  that  they  would  content  the 
Church  of  England,  and  all  others,  by  furnishing  them  with 
the  means  of  educating  their  youth  in  theology,  apart  from 
King's  College.  That  is  doing  nothing. 

There  is  no  serious  difficulty  now  in  the  Church  of  England 
or  Scotland,  or  the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  finding  means  to 
do  this  without  public  aid.  A  salary  of  ^200  per  annum,  with 
fees  to  be  paid  by  students,  would  secure  the  services  of  some 


348    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

respectable  clergyman,  if  no  more  could  be  got — but  we  could 
get  more. 

Lord  Elgin  also,  in  a  letter  to  the  Secretary  of 
State  for  the  Colonies,  on  the  4th  February  1851, 
says  that  those  who  advocated  the  change  in  the 
charter  of  King's  College  in  1849  believed  that  the 
several  denominations  "  would  provide  schools  or 
colleges  in  the  vicinity  of  the  University  for  the 
religious  training  of  the  youth  of  their  respective 
communions." 

But  my  father,  and  those  who  concurred  with 
him,  desired  more  than  this  for  the  University 
education  of  the  youth  of  Canada. 

What  the  Act  secularising  University  education 
had  done  was  to  destroy  in  a  fundamental  point  the 
resemblance  between  the  Toronto  University  and 
those  great  English  residential  Universities  of  Oxford 
and  Cambridge,  to  the  system  and  training  at  which 
he  attributed,  rightly  or  wrongly,  much  of  that 
"  traditionary  spirit  and  elevation  of  character  which 
have  made  England  what  she  is." 

Under  this  system,  students,  as  a  rule,  reside  in 
their  colleges,  the  advantage  of  which  is  generally 
admitted  by  University  men  in  after  life,  and  religious 
and  moral  teaching  and  influence  go  hand  in  hand 
with  secular  work.  They  are  interfused  with  the 
latter,  give  tone  to  it  and  to  the  daily  college  life,  and 
are  not  matters  outside  of  it.  They  are  imparted  by 
teachers  who  are  themselves  convinced  of  the  value  of 
such  influence,  and  who  instruct  in  secular  subjects 
as  well ;  and  these  teachers,  by  mixing  with  the 
students  in  their  college  amusements,  interests,  and 
occupations,  have  a  greater  weight  in  the  formation 


xin  TRINITY  COLLKC.K  349 

of  the  characters  of  those  under  them  than  others, 
not  similarly  situated,  can  hope  to  h; 

My  father  and  many  more  considered  this  system 
the  most  perfect  University  one;  and  so,  although 
they  could  not  hope  to  obtain  a  better  secular  educa- 
tion than  that  given  at  the  University  of  Toronto,  or 
one  imparted  by  more  able  Professors  (many  of  them 
Churchmen)  than  those  who  formed  its  staff*,  they 
determined  to  found,  if  possible,  a  new  University 
upon  another  basis  in  connection  with  the  Anglican 
Church. 

Bishop  Strachan,  though  seventy-two  years  of  age, 
proceeded  to  England,  where  an  influential  com- 
mittee among  the  members  of  which,  it  may  be 
mentioned,  were  Lord  Seaton  and  Mr.  (Gladstone — 
co-operated  with  him  in  his  object.  An  appeal  for 
funds  was  warmly  responded  to  both  there  and  in 
Canada;  and  it  illustrates  this  to  say  that,  though 
there  were  in  Upper  Canada  at  this  time  but  few 
wealthy  men,  very  many  contributed  over  £100 ; 
several  £500  (in  money  or  land)  ;  some  £1000  (among 
them  Bishop  Strachan  himself) ;  Mr.  Enoch  Turner, 
£1700  ;  and  Dr.  Burnside,  £6000.  In  England  the 
Society  for  the  Propagation  of  the  Gospel  gave 
£4000  ;  the  Society  for  Promoting  Christian  Know- 
ledge, £3000;  the  University  of  Oxford,  £500;  Mr. 
Turner,  of  Rook's  Nest,  Surrey,  £500,  and  there  were 
other  liberal  contributions.  In  all,  over  £40,000, 
afterwards  added  to,  was  soon  collected,  and  a  petition 
to  the  Queen  for  a  royal  charter  was  signed  by 
nearly  12,000  people,  chiefly  heads  of  families. 

The  building  of  the  college  was  then  proceeded 
with,  and  it  was  formally  opened  15th  January  1852, 
having,  pending  the  receipt  of  the  royal  charter 


350    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

applied  for,  received  its  Act  of  Incorporation  as 
a  college,  without  degree-conferring  powers,  from 
the  Legislature  of  Canada. 

The  charter  was  granted  16th  July  1853  by  her 
Majesty's  command,  ordaining  and  providing  that 
"  the  said  college  shall  be  deemed  and  taken  to  be  a 
University,  and  shall  have  and  enjoy  all  such  and  the 
like  privileges  as  are  enjoyed  by  our  Universities  of 
our  United  Kingdom  of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland." 
My  father  was  elected  the  first  chancellor,  continu- 
ing to  hold  the  office  until  his  death,  and  taking 
always  the  keenest  interest  in  the  welfare  of  the 
University.1 

Thus  Trinity  College  was  founded  from  the 
contributions  of  individuals  and  public  bodies  inde- 
pendently of  the  State,  and  in  connection  with  the 
Anglican  Church,  modelled  in  all  respects,  including 
collegiate  residence,  upon  the  English  Universities  of 
Oxford  and  Cambridge,  and  with  a  Provost  and  Pro- 
fessors from  these  Universities. 

At  the  opening  of  the  college,  on  15th  July  1852, 
my  father  said  :— 

Ours  is  no  new  faith.  It  is  not  from  the  Reformation  that 
the  Church  of  England  dates  her  existence.  We  are  not 
separated  from  other  Christian  communities  in  consequence  of 
any  recent  adoption  on  our  part  of  a  doubtful  interpretation 
of  some  text  of  Scripture,  or  any  modern  scruple  in  regard  to 
forms.  Nothing  else  we  most  fondly  venerate — not  the  glorious 
flag  of  England,  nor  the  great  Charter  of  our  liberties — has 
from  its  antiquity  so  strong  a  claim  to  our  devotion  as  our 
Church.  It  is  the  Church  which,  from  age  to  age,  the  Sovereign 
has  sworn  to  support :  centuries  have  passed  since  holy  martyrs 
have  perished  at  the  stake  rather  than  deny  her  doctrines.  .  .  . 

1  I  was^ent  to  the  college  by  him  at  its  opening,  and  graduated  there 
in  1855. 


xiii  TRINITY  COLLKCiK 

And  the  Rev.  Provost  \Vliitaker  on  the  same 
occasion  thus  spoke  :— 

The  foundation  of  this  college  is  a  solemn  protest  against 
the-  separation  of  religion  from  education.  We  have  joined 
together  what  others  have  put  asunder,  .  .  .  and  what,  «i*  we 
believe,  God  joined  together  from  the  beginning. 

Much  has  been  written,  in  not  too  dispassionate 
a  spirit,  with  respect  to  King's  College  and  Trinity 
College,  and  the  religious  questions  connected  with 
their  history,  but  it  should  not  be  overlooked  that  the 
majority  of  those  who,  like  my  lather,  contributed  to 
establish  Trinity  College  upon  the  system  which  I 
have  explained,  were  laymen,  professional  men,  and 
business  men;  few  of  them  comparatively  were 
ecclesiastics  or  theologians.  Certainly  those  of  them 
who  had  sent  their  sons  to  King's  College  under  its 
very  modified  charter  in  1843  cannot  fairly  be  accused 
of  extreme  Church  views. 

Hut  they  were  convinced,  from  the  highest  con- 
siderations and  also  from  the  experience  of  practical 
life,  that  the  separation  of  religious  and  moral  teach- 
ing from  University  education  was  a  wrong  step  ;  and 
that  if  the  State  was  compelled  of  necessity  to  sever 
them,  then  they,  as  individuals,  must  exert  themselves 
by  private  effort  to  reunite  them.  They  were  of 
opinion  that  a  University  should  before  all  things,  as 
General  Simcoe  said,  "  impart  religious  and  moral 
learning ; "  that  all  secular  instruction  of  youth  should 
have  its  basis  on  such  learning ;  and,  as  Dr.  Arnold 
of  Rugby  wrote,  be  made  "  subordinate  to  a  clearly 
defined  Christian  end."  Holding  these  views,  had 
they  not  exerted  themselves  as  they  did,  when 
religious  worship  and  instruction  were  excluded  from 


352    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

King's  College,  to  found  another  University,  they 
would  have  acted  less  fully  up  to  their  convictions 
than  had  those  earnest  men  of  other  Christian  com- 
munions who  had  founded  "  Queen's  "  and  "  Victoria  " 
and  "  Regiopolis  "  Colleges. 

From  the  day  on  which  it  was  opened  until  now, 
i.e.  for  more  than  half  a  century,1  Trinity  College, 
under  some  opposition  and  many  difficulties,  has  con- 
tinued to  fulfil  its  mission. 

It  is  the  last  college  in  Canada  founded  upon  a 
royal  charter,  and  it  is  to  be  confidently  hoped  that, 
as  time  goes  on,  it  will  grow,  as  Oxford  and  Cam- 
bridge have  done  in  England,  in  the  confidence  and 
affection  both  of  Churchmen  and  of  the  people  at 
large,  and  with  the  power  afforded  by  more  material, 
as  well  as  moral  support,  be  enabled  much  further  to 
extend  its  sphere  of  usefulness. 

As  the  history  of  the  Wellington  Scholarships 
now  enjoyed  by  Trinity,  but  originally  by  King's 
College,  has  a  close  connection  with  my  father,  I  give 
extracts  below  from  letters  of  the  Duke  of  Welling- 
ton regarding  them. 

On  the  29th  April  1844  the  Duke  wrote  to 
him  : — 

You  will  probably  have  heard  that  I  some  years  ago  subscribed 
a  sum  of  money  towards  the  payment  of  the  expense  of  the  con- 
struction of  the  Wei  land  Canal,  and  that  I  am  in  fact  the 
proprietor  of  shares  in  that  work.  I  was  subsequently  disposed 
to  form  the  intention  of  relinquishing  those  shares,  and  I 

1  To  the  zealous  exertions  and  unfailing  support  of  the  late  Hon.  G. 
W.  Allan,  D.C.  L,,  who  was  connected  with  it,  as  a  trustee,  from  its  com- 
mencement, and  was  its  chancellor  for  twenty-three  years,  Trinity  College 
owes  very  much  indeed.  After  his  death  he  was  succeeded  as  chancellor 
by  my  brother,  Christopher  Robinson,  in  January  1902. 


xin      WELLINGTON    SCHOLARSHIPS     358 

intended  to  present  them  to  the  Province  of  Upper  Canada, 
and  imagined  that  I  had  done  so. 

But  the  enclosed  letter l  has  apprised  me  that  I  had  never 
carried  into  execution  that  intention,  and  the  shares  are  mine 
at  this  moment. 

Under  those  circumstances  I  venture  to  trouble  you,  and 
request  you  to  point  out  to  me  in  what  manner  I  can  dispose 
of  these  shares  so  as  to  be  most  serviceable  to  the  Province  of 
Canada,  or  any  district  thereof,  it  being  my  wish  to  consult  you 
exclusively  upon  this  subject,  and  intention  to  follow  exactly 
the  course  which  you  will  su^ 

After  I  shall  have  received  your  answer  to  this  letter,  and 
with  the  of  your  advice  shall  have  determined  upon 

the  course  which  I  shall  follow  with  regard  to  the  disposition 
of  the  property,  I  will,  of  course,  write  to  Mr.  Merritt.  .  .  . 

In  reply  to  this  letter,  my  father  suggested  more 
than  one  object  for  the  Duke's  consideration,  but 
inclined  to  the  view  that,  as  the  stock  would  found 
one  and  probably  two  scholarships,  it  would  be  well 
to  devote  it  to  the  cause  of  education  in  this  way,  by 
founding  such  scholarships  in  King's  College,  which 
had  just  been  opened ;  and  he  added  that  it  would  be 
always  felt  to  be  a  proud  distinction  of  the  Canadian 
University  that  the  Duke  "  had  consented  to  asso- 
ciate so  closely  with  it  a  name  which  must  last  as 
long  as  anything  is  taught  in  colleges  or  schools." 

At  the  same  time  he  gave  the  history  of  the 
College,  the  modifications  which  had  been  made  in 
its  original  charter,  and  the  possible  danger  of  these 
being  carried  further  in  the  future. 

1  This  was  a  letter  from  Mr.  William  Hamilton  Merritt, of  St.  Catherine's, 
Upper  Canada,  the  original  projector  and  a  very  active  promoter  of  the 
Wt'llund  Canal.  The  Duke  of  Wellington  had,  at  a  critical  period  of  its 
fortunes,  given  an  impetus  to  the  canal  by  taking  twenty-five  shares  in  it 
(value  then  £500),  and  Mr.  Merritt  drew  his  attention  to  the  fact  of  his  being 
still  the  holder  of  these  shares,  and  made  some  suggestion  with  respect  to 
them.  In  the  interim  they  had  become  considerably  more  valuable. 

Z 


354    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

In  response  the  Duke  wrote  ; — 

WALMEB  CASTLE,  28th  September  1844. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — I  have  to  apologise  for  having  allowed  so 
much  time  to  elapse  without  answering  your  kind  letter  of  llth 
July,  but  Parliament  was  still  sitting  when  I  received  it,  and 
my  time  was  so  fully  occupied  that  I  had  not  leisure  to  peruse 
and  consider  the  various  papers  which  you  were  so  kind  as  to 
send  me,  and  to  determine  upon  the  course  which  I  should 
follow. 

I  have  now  perused  all  the  papers  with  the  greatest  atten- 
tion, and  I  think  that  I  quite  understand  the  subject ;  and  I 
have  determined  that  I  will  avail  myself  of  the  Act  of  Parlia- 
ment of  the  Province  of  Canada,  the  7th  Queen,  chapter  34,  and 
authorise  the  disposal  of  my  interest,  or  share,  or  shares,  in  the 
Welland  Canal,  and  with  the  produce  thereof  found  a  scholar- 
ship in  the  King's  College,  in  Upper  Canada. 

...  I  beg  accordingly  that  having  disposed  of  this  stock 
in  the  Welland  Canal,1  you  will  dispose  the  proceeds  thereof  in 
the  foundation  of  a  scholarship  in  the  King's  College,  Upper 
Canada. 

I  should  wish  this  scholarship  to  be  for  your  life  at  your 
disposition.  Afterwards  at  the  disposition  of  the  Chief  Justice 
of  Upper  Canada,  of  the  Chancellor  of  King's  College,  and  of 
the  President  of  the  same  institution,  or  the  majority  of  the 
three,  each  of  them  being  a  professor  of  the  doctrine  of  the 
Church  of  England. 

I  desire  that  you,  during  your  life,  and  the  officers  above 
mentioned,  when  they  will  have  the  disposal  of  and  nomination 
to  the  scholarship,  will  select  him  whom  they  may  think  most 
deserving. 

But,  in  case  the  son  of  an  officer  on  half- pay  of  Her 
Majesty's  Army,  settled  in  Canada,  should  become  a  candidate 
for  this  benefit,  and  his  claim,  from  merit  and  proficiency 
in  his  studies,  should  be  considered  equal  to  that  of  other 
candidates,  I  wish  that  the  preference  should  be  given  to 

1  A  power  of  attorney  to  my  father  for  this  purpose  was  enclosed. 


xin      WELLINGTON   SCHOLARSHIPS 

the  son  of  the  officer  on  half-pay  of  I  In-  Majesty's  Army 
settled  in  Canada.  .  .  . 

I  have  desired  to  found  this  scholarship  in  the  Kind's 
College,  Upper  Canada,  in  consequence  of  inv  conviction  of  the 
connection  of  that  institution  with  the  Church  of  England,  and 
of  its  having  a  Royal  Charter^under  the  Great  Seal  of  England  ; 
but  if  the  character  in  this  respect  of  this  institution  should  be 
altered,  bv  the-  exercise  of  any  power  or  authority,  and  the 
friends  and  professors  of  the  doctrines  of  the  Church  of 
England  in  Canada  should  form  another  institution  for  the 
promotion  of  learning,  religion,  and  virtue  in  connection  with 
the  doctrine  of  the  Church  of  England,  I  desire  that  the 
scholarship  or  scholarships  thus  formed  bv  the  sale  of  the  stock 
belonging  to  me  in  the  We  Hand  Canal  in  the  King's  College 
may  be  removed  to  Mich  other  institution.  .  .  . 

I  have  the  honour  to  be,  my  dear  Sir,  your  most  faithful 
and  obedient  humble  Servant,  \Yi 

Mr.  ( 'biff-Justice  JOHN  HKVKHI.KY  UOUIN 

Power  was  given  to  those  who  had  the  disposition 
of  the  scholarship  to  create  a  second  one,  if  the  funds 
permitted.  The  proceeds  of  the  stock,  with  accu- 
mulated back  interest,  enabled  debentures  of  the 
value  of  over  £1100  sterling  to  be  bought,  from  the 
interest  of  which  sum  two  scholarships  were  endowed. 

In  accordance  with  the  Duke's  instructions,  when 
all  connection  of  the  University  of  Toronto  with 
religious  teaching  and  the  Church  of  England  had 
ceased,  and  Trinity  College  been  established,  these 
scholarships  were  removed  to  the  latter  College, 
where  they  are  now  held.1 

To  understand  the  existing  relations  between  the 
University  of  Toronto,  which  is  the  State  University 

1  My  father's  grandson,  ('.  S.  Machines,  won  by  examination  the 
Wellington  Scholarship  in  Classics  for  1891,  the  method  of  award  having 
been  changed  to  open  competition,  and  became  Fellow  and  Lecturer  in 
Trinity  College  in  1893-94.  Another  grandson,  Christopher  C.  Robinson, 
son  of  my  brother  Christopher,  won  it  in  the  year  1901. 


356    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

of  the  Province  of  Ontario  (formerly  Upper  Canada) 
and  Trinity  and  other  Colleges  of  the  Province,  it  is 
necessary  to  refer  shortly  to  what  has  taken  place 
since  1852. 

In  the  interval  between  that  date  and  the  present 
time  the  University  of  Toronto  (once  King's  College) 
has  undergone  several  changes. 

In  1853  it  was  reconstituted  much  upon  the 
system  of  the  "  University  of  London,"  on  which  it 
was  mainly  modelled,  and  it  was  laid  down  that  the 
literary  and  scientific  attainments  of  persons  obtaining 
degrees  were  to  be  similar  to  those  in  force  at  that 
University. 

As  there  are  points  of  similarity,  in  other  respects 
as  well  as  in  their  constitution,  between  these  two 
Universities,  I  will  mention  that  the  University  of 
London  was  initiated  in  1825  by  Campbell  the  poet, 
(whose  name  has  occurred  more  than  once  in  these 
pages),  Lord  Brougham,  Joseph  Hume,  and  certain 
influential  men  who  dissented  from  the  doctrines  of 
the  Established  Church,  and  were  under  some  dis- 
abilities at  other  Universities  at  that  time.1 

In  1828,  when  it  opened,  it  was  distinctly  non- 
theological  in  character,  but  in  1829  a  section  of  its 
supporters,  dissatisfied  at  its  being  altogether  dis- 
sociated from  the  Established  Church,  founded 
"  King's  College,"  London,  with  a  view  to  add  to  the 
secular  instruction  the  inculcation  of  "  the  doctrines 
and  duties  of  Christianity  as  the  same  are  inculcated 
by  the  United  Churches  of  England  and  Ireland." 

This  combination  was  so  far  successful  that  in 
1836  the  University  of  London  was  reconstituted  into 

1  "  Encyclopaedia  Britannica  "  (Universities). 


xin         UNIVERSITY    OF   TORONTO         357 

two  parts,  viz.,  the  "  University  of  London."  to 
examine  and  confer  degrees  only,  and  "University 
College,  London,"  a  collegiate  teaching  institution — 
the  latter  and  "  King's  College,  London,"  being  both 
incorporated  with  the  University. 

The  University  of  Toronto  was  in  18,5:5  similarly 
re-constituted  into  two  parts,  viz.,  "the  University  of 
Toronto,"  an  examining  and  degree-conferring  body 
only,  and  "  University  College,"  a  collegiate  teaching 
institution. 

There  are  no  resident  students  in  the  College. 

Since  then  various  changes  have  taken  place  in 
the  statutes  affecting  the  University,  of  which  some 
have  been  introduced  with  a  view  to  facilitate  the 
federation  or  affiliation  with  it  of  other  universities 
and  colleges ;  and  now  the  existing  law  is  embodied 
in  -The  University  Act,"  1901  (ch.  41,  1  Edward 
VI  I.),  which  provides  that— 

Any  Univer>ity  in  the  Province-  of  Ontario  which  suspends 
its  power  to  confer  such  degrees  ;is  it  ni;iy  be  authorised  to 
confer  (excepting  decrees  in  theology)  shall  be  entitled  to  be 
represented  on  the  Senate  of  the  University,1 — and  to  be  known 
as  a  "  Federated  University  "  (s.  20  (1) ). 

The  curriculum  in  Arts  of  the  University  shall  include  the 
subjects  of  Biblical  Greek,  Biblical  literature,  Christian  ethics, 
apologetics,  the  evidences  of  natural  and  revealed  religion 
and  Church  history — but  any  provision  for  examination  and 
instruction  in  the  same  shall  be  left  to  the  voluntary  action 
of  the  federating  Universities  and  colleges,  and  provision  shall 
be  made,  by  a  system  of  options,  to  prevent  such  subjects  being 
made  compulsory  upon  any  candidate  for  a  degree  (s.  24  ('3) ). 


In  proportion  to  the  number  of  student;-  in  each  Co' 


358    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

The  Council  (of  University  College)  may  make  regulations 
touching  the  moral  conduct  of  the  students  and  their  attend- 
ance at  public  worship  in  their  respective  churches,  or  other 
places  of  religious  worship,  and  respecting  their  religious 
instruction  by  their  respective  ministers  according  to  their 
respective  forms  of  religious  faith,  and  every  facility  shall  be 
afforded  for  such  purposes — provided  always  that  attendance 
on  such  form  of  religious  observance  be  not  compulsory  on 
any  student  attending  the  University,  or  University  College 
(s.  23(1)). 

The  University  Act,  1901,  has  in  a  degree  altered 
the  relations  between  the  University  of  Toronto  and 
University  College.  The  college  was  incorporated 
with  the  University ;  now  it  is  on  a  somewhat  similar 
footing  with  respect  to  the  latter  as  other  federating 
colleges,  though  supported  by  the  same  endowment 
and  partially  under  the  same  management. 

The  provisions  of  the  Act,  as  shown  above,  permit 
of  religious  instruction  and  moral  training  being 
voluntarily  carried  out,  and  allow  certain  religious 
teaching  to  find  a  place  in  the  Arts  course  for  a 
degree,  while,  at  the  same  time,  the  terms  of  the 
charter  of  the  University  of  Toronto,  under  which 
there  can  be  no  Faculty  of  Divinity  in  that  Univer- 
sity, and  no  religious  observances  or  worship  can  be 
compulsorily  imposed,  are  adhered  to. 

Of  the  chartered,  or  incorporated,  Universities  and 
colleges  in  Ontario,  Victoria  (Methodist)  has  within 
recent  years  federated  with  the  University  of  Toronto  ; 
while  of  colleges  and  institutions  not  enjoying  Uni- 
versity powers,  several  have  affiliated  with  that 
University,  and  some  with  Trinity  University. 

Up  to  the  year  1903,  however,  it  had  not  been 
found  practicable  to  come  to  any  arrangement  under 


xni        UNIVERSITY   FEDERATION          359 

which  Trinity  University,  without  the  concession  of 
fundamental  principles,  could  federate  with  the  Uni- 
versity  of  Toronto  ;  but,  within  the  past  few  months. 
after  prolonged  negotiations,  conditions  of  federation 
have  been  formulated  which  the  corporation  of  Trinity, 
and  many  of  those  deeply  interested  in  her  welfare. 
both  clergy  and  laity,  have  considered  that  it  is  both 
proper  and  desirable  to  accept,  the  arrangement  to  be 
a  tentative  one  for  three  years.  After  this  Trinity 
could,  if  desired,  revert  at  any  time  to  her  indepen- 
dent position,  her  degree-conferring  powers  (except  in 
Divinity)  being  held  in  suspense  during  federation. 

These  conditions  I  will  not  here  enlarge  upon, 
as  they  have  been  lately  much  discussed  in  Canada, 
where  those  interested  in  University  matters  arc 
familiar  with  them,  and  to  completely  enter  into 
them  requires  a  reference  to  many  details. 

To  sum  up — the  sketch  which  I  have  given  of  the 
origin  and  progress  of  the  Universities  of  Toronto 
and  Trinity  College  shows  that  the  organisation  and 
regulations  of  the  former  are  not  now  what  they 
were  when  Bishop  Strachan  established  the  latter  in 
1852.  The  educational  circumstances  of  Toronto,  the 
capital  of  the  Upper  Province,  have  also  altered. 

At  that  time  all  religious  worship  and  instruction 
had  been  abolished  in  the  University  of  Toronto,  and 
it  was  deemed  necessary  to  found  one  upon  a  different 
basis.  Now  Trinity  College,  with  her  religious  wor- 
ship and  teaching,  and  her  residential  system,  exists. 
in  which  what  was  then  abolished  is  imparted  in 
accordance  with  the  tenets  of  the  Anglican  Church, 
and  this  would  continue  to  be  the  case  under 
federation. 

Important  changes  also  have  been  introduced  into 


360    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

the  University  of  Toronto  ;  the  relations  to  it  of  Uni- 
versity College  and  other  colleges  under  federation 
have  been  modified :  and  the  curriculum  of  Arts  in 
the  University  of  Toronto  includes  religious  teaching 
within  certain  limits. 

Federation,  therefore,  can  now  at  all  events  be 
regarded  by  Anglican  churchmen,  although  it  in- 
volves a  sacrifice  of  degree-conferring  power  on  the 
part  of  Trinity  College,  in  a  light  which  it  could  not 
have  been  a  few  years  ago,  and  the  members  of 
Trinity  who  have  advocated  it  have,  equally  with 
those  who  are  opposed  to  it,  but  one  object  in  view, 
viz.,  the  success  of  the  University  in  carrying  out 
and  promoting  the  main  purposes  for  which  it  was 
established. 

I  have  entered  above  at  what  may  perhaps  be  con- 
sidered undue  length  into  questions  concerning  Trinity 
College,  on  account  of  my  father's  close  connection 
with  the  University,  and  because  I  am  aware  that  he 
had  its  welfare  much  at  heart. 

For  whatever  he  may  have  been  able  to  accom- 
plish for  it  in  its  earlier  years,  the  reward  he  would 
have  sought  is  its  prosperity,  while  maintaining  the 
principles  upon  which  it  was  founded ;  and  that  those 
educated  there  may  continue,  for  all  time,  to  say  : — 

"  And  till  life's  latest  hour  my  lips  shall  bless 
The  first  good  Bishop's  work,  and  not  the  less 
His  name  who — pupil,  counsellor,  and  friend — 
Aided  in  guiding  to  its  prosp'rous  end 
This  labour  :   faithful  still  through  toil  and  loss 
Fair  learning's  vine  to  twine  upon  the  Cross."  l 


1  Congratulatory  poem  read  by  Mr.  C.   E.  Thomson  at  my  father's 
installation  as  Chancellor  of  Trinity  College,  3rd  June  1853. 


XTII  CREATED   A   BARONET  36) 

In  1854  my  father  was  created  a  Baronet  of  the 
United  Kingdom,  his  patent  being  dated  21st  Sep- 
tember. 

Shortly  before,  though  he  was  entirely  unaware 
of  it,  some  of  those  well  acquainted  with  his  public 
services,  who  were  then  in  England,  had  taken  an 
opportunity  of  speaking  of  them  to  the  Duke  of 
Newcastle,  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies. 

Lord  Seaton,  to  whom  this  had  been  mentioned, 
then  communicated  with  my  father,  and  wrote  him- 
self to  the  Duke,  stating  what  had  come  within  his 
own  knowledge  when  Governor-General  and  in  com- 
mand of  the  forces,  and  adding  :— 

The  duties  of  his  high  and  important    offices  have  be 
efficiently  diacharged  that  no  public  servant  has  ever  been  more 
revered,  or  held  in  greater  estimation  than  he  at  present  is  in 
da. 

He  subsequently  sent  to  my  brother-in-law, 
Captain  Lefroy,  a  copy  of  his  letter  and  of  the  fol- 
lowing reply  to  it  from  the  Duke  of  Newcastle  : — 

D<»U  '  :  lfk  JtlUf    ! 

l)i  AK  LOUD  SEATON, — I  regret  that,  from  the  pressure  of 
business  and  the  numerous  preparations   attendant  upon  the 
division  of  ollices  which  has  lately  taken  place,  I  have  not  been 
able  hitherto  to  reply  to  your  letter  of  the  27th  May  resper 
Chief-Justice  Robinson. 

Long,  however,  before  the  receipt  of  that  letter,  I  was  fully 
aware  of  the  course  of  public  services  and  many  other  great 
merits  of  the  Chief  Justice,  and  also  of  the  general  estimation 
in  which  he  was,  and  is,  held  in  Canada,  and  it  was  my  inten- 
tion, before  leaving  office,  to  leave  some  mark  of  public  recog- 
nition which  would  bear  an  honourable  testimony,  both  to  the 
province  and  to  himself,  of  his  past  valuable  services. 

I  sincerely  rejoice,  however,  that  I  have  received  your  letter, 


362    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

as  bearing  out  to  the  full  extent  my  own  views,  and  I  take  the 
earliest  opportunity  of  informing  you  that  I  have  already 
received  the  Queen's  most  gracious  approval  of  the  recommen- 
dation that  a  Baronetcy  of  the  United  Kingdom  should  be 
conferred  upon  Chief  Justice  Robinson.  —  Believe  me,  dear 
Lord  Seaton,  yours  very  faithfully, 

NEWCASTLE. 

Lord  Seaton  wrote  also  to  my  father,  19th  June 
1854  :— 

It  will  be  satisfactory  to  you  to  know  that  the  Colonial 
Minister  had  determined,  before  he  left  that  Department,  to 
recommend  some  mark  of  distinction  to  be  conferred  on  you. 

I  congratulate  you  sincerely  on  this  recognition  of  your 
public  services,  and  I  am  confident  that  it  will  afford  the  highest 
satisfaction  at  home  and  in  Canada — west  and  east. 

You  will  have  heard  of  the  sudden  death  of  our  old  friend, 
Sir  Peregrine  Maitland,  with  great  sorrow. 

Lord  Elgin,  Governor- General  of  Canada,  in 
notifying  the  Queen's  intention  to  create  him  a 
Baronet,  added  a  kind  private  note  expressing  the 
pleasure  which  this  gave  to  him  personally. 

There  were  also  many  warm  letters  of  congratula- 
tion from  public  bodies  and  private  friends,  and  the 
Bar  of  Upper  Canada,  in  an  address  conveying  to  him 
their  satisfaction,  said  :— 

All  will  bear  testimony  to  the  manly  and  becoming  dignity, 
the  patient  attention,  and  the  considerate  and  gratifying 
courtesy  which  have  invariably  characterised  your  Presidency 
on  the  Bench  and  your  intercourse  with  the  Bar.  .  .  . 

We  cannot  be  forgetful  of  the  important  part  your  Lordship 
has  borne  in  maintaining,  by  influence  and  example,  the  high 
tone  and  dignity  of  the  one,  and  in  respecting  on  all  occasions 
the  position  and  privileges  of  the  other. 


xni  CHI  MEAN    WAR  363 

In  1854  the  war  with  Russia  (Crimean  \Var) 
broke  out,  in  which  many  from  Canada  took  an 
active  part;1  and  Sir  Francis  Head,  writing  to  my 
father  on  28th  May  1854,  thus  refers  to  the  death  in 
action  of  Captain  A\r.  Arnold,2  whose  sister  was  the 
wife  of  my  brother  Lnkin,  and  who,  while  on  leave  in 
Canada,  had  volunteered  for  service  and  joined  the 
Turkish  Army  on  the  Danube  :— 

You  will,  I  know,  regret  to  learn  that  I  have  this  morning 
received  from  Colonel  Steele,  Lonl  Raglan's  Military  Secretary, 
a  private  note  informing  me  of  the  death  in  action  of  our  noble, 
gallant,  young  friend,  William  Arnold.  On  account  of  his 
gentlemanlike  bearing  and  high  chivalrous  spirit,  Lady  I 
anil  I  really  and  sincerely  entertained  for  him  maternal  and 
paternal  regard. 

Captain  Arnold  joined  a  Division  of  the  Turkish 
Army  at  Giurgevo  on  the  Danube  on  the  evening 
previous  to  an  attack  made  upon  the  Russian 

it  ion  at  Rustchuk  on  the  opposite  bank,  in  which 
he  and  two  other  British  officers  (out  of  four  in  all) 
and  700  men  fell. 

I  may  add  here  that  it  was  largely  in  appreciation 
of  the  contributions  from  Canada  to  the  Patriotic 
Fund  raised  after  this  war  that  I  subsequently  (in 
November  1857)  received  my  own  commission  from 
the  Prince  Consort  in  the  Rifle  Brigade,  of  which  he 
was  Colonel-in-Chief. 


1  Ainoni;   others   who    distinguished    themselves    may    he    mentioned 
Lieutenant  (afterwards  Colonel)  Alexander  Dunn,  awarded  the  V.C.   for 
bravery  in  the  Litrht  Cavalry  i-harjre  at  Balaclava. 

2  Son  of  John  Arnold,  Esq.,  of  Toronto,  brother  of  Colonel  Arnold, 
10th  Lancers,  who  commanded  the  Cavalry  Brigade  in  the  Afghan  War. 
1839-40. 


CHAPTER  XIV 

JOURNAL  AND  CORRESPONDENCE  WHILE  IN 
ENGLAND,  ETC. 

1855 

Mrs.  Hamilton  Hamilton,  Sir  F.  Head — Appointed  Vice-President,  S.P.G. 
— Bishop  of  New  Zealand  (Selwyn) — Rev.  Ernest  Hawkins,  Judge 
Haliburton,  Colonel  Sabine— Royal  Society  Club — House  of  Lords — 
York  Assizes — Samuel  Warren,  Parke,  Cresswell,  Canon  Vernon 
Harcourt  —  Nisi  Prius  Court  —  Bishop  of  Exeter,  Hallam,  Lord 
Lyndhurst  —  Death  of  Sir  R.  Inglis  —  Westminster  Hall  — The 
Exchequer  Court — Oral  judgments — House  of  Lords,  Arguments 
on  a  Scotch  appeal  —  King's  College,  London — Sir  E.  Ryan,  and 
appeal  cases  from  Canada  —  Levee,  St.  James's  Palace— Sir  H. 
Holland,  G.  W.  Bramwell,  Q.C.— Queen's  Birthday  dinner— The 
Great  Eastern — Dr.  Cumming,  Sir  H.  Rawlinson,  Captain  M'Clure, 
Faraday  —  Visits  Bath,  Freuchay,  and  Cleasby  —  Dublin  :  Lord 
Carlisle,  Lord  Seaton,  Chief-Justice  Lefroy — Killarney  —  Cork  — 
Oxford  :  made  Honorary  D.C.L.  —  Sir  J.  Burgoyne  —  Murchison, 
Willes — Pemberton  Leigh  and  Canadian  judgments — Lord  Campbell 
and  Baron  Parke  as  to  taking  evidence  of  parties  to  a  suit— Guernsey 
— Return  to  Canada. 

IN  1855  my  father  and  mother  paid  their  last  visit 
to  England,  where  my  sisters,  Emily  (Mrs.  Lefroy) 
and  Mary  (afterwards  Mrs.  Maclnnes),  were  at  this 
time. 

They  left  Toronto  on  the  13th  January,  sailing 
from  Boston  on  the  17th  in  the  Cunard  steamer 
Asia,  Captain  Lott,  and  were  away  from  Canada  a 
little  over  seven  months.  After  touching  at  Halifax, 
they  reached  Liverpool  on  the  30th  January,  and 
went  thence  to  Brighton,  where  my  sisters  were  then 
staying,  and  took  rooms  at  10  New  Steyne. 

During  this  visit,  which  was  unconnected  with 
any  public  duty,  my  father  made  short  trips  to  Ireland 

364 


LAST   VISIT    TO    ENGLAND          365 

and  Guernsey ;  to  Oxford,  where  he  was  given  the 
honorary  degree  of  D.C.L. ;  to  Frenchay,  near  Bristol, 
where  Colonel  W.  H.  Robinson1  was  then  living,  and 
to  Cleasby  in  Yorkshire.  He  saw  again  several  of 
those  whom  he  had  met  when  last  in  England  in 
1838-40,  including  Sir  F.  Head,  Lord  Lyndhurst, 
Sir  Robert  Inglis,  and  Sir  J.  Pakington ;  but  Sir 
Robert  Peel,  Sir  Wilmot  Horton,  and  the  Duke  of 
Wellington  had  in  the  interim  passed  away. 

I  give  now  some  extracts  from  his  journal : — 

I  found  all  well  at  Brighton.'2  We  went  to  see  Mrs.  Hamil- 
ton Hamilton,  daughter  of  Sir  Frederick  Robinson.  I  think 
I  had  not  seen  her  since  1815  at  Kingston,  where  her  father 
commanded  the  forces,  and  was  administering  the  civil  govern- 
ment. 

She  was  then  a  most  lovely  young  woman,  and  is  still  a  fine 
one — animated,  intelligent,  and  agreeable — devoting  herself 
wholly  to  the  care  of  her  husband,  who  has  been  for  many 
an  invalid.  lie  was  British  Minister  at  Rio  de  Janeiro. 

I  received  verv  kind  letters  from  Sir  Robert  Inglis.  Mr. 
Turner,3  and  Sir  Francis  Head,  proposing  that  I  should  visit 
them.  Sir  11.  Inglis  gave  me  choice  of  days  when  I  would  dine 
with  him,  and  begged  of  me  to  name  any  persons  whom  I  should 
like  to  meet. 

On  February  4  and  5,  1855,  Sir  Francis  Head, 
who,  since  my  father's  last  visit  to  England,  had 
moved  from  Warwickshire  to  Oxenden  in  North- 
amptonshire, writes : — 

I  was  indeed  glad  this  morning  to  see  your  handwriting, 
coupled  w:th  the  postmark  "  Woolwich.""  My  first  feeling  wa> 


'  Son  of  8ir  William  and  grandson  of  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson. 

2  This  entry  is  without  date. 

3  Of  Rook's  Nest,  Godstone,  Surrey. 


366    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

one  of  thankfulness  that  you  and  Lady  Robinson  had  got  safe 
across,  my  second  of  joy  that  you  and  I  were  once  again  on  the 
soil  of  good  old  England.  Whether  you  arrive  here  by  night 
or  by  day,  "  in  thunder,  lightning,  or  in  hail,"  you  will  meet 
with  a  hearty  welcome. 

I  have  been  in  what  I  call  "  Jail "  for  the  last  six  weeks,  in 
consequence  of  my  horse  having  reared  up  and  fallen  back- 
wards on  my  knee  and  ankle,  but  I  hope  to  be  able  to  resume 
my  "  circuit,"  i.e.  my  hunting,  as  soon  as  the  frost  leaves  us. 

Since  you  were  here  Canada  has  grown  into  a  great  country, 
but  Oxenden  has  not  only  not  grown,  it  has  shrivelled  up,  in 
consequence  of  the  railway  having  drawn  off  the  high  road  every 
single  mail  and  store  cart.  Twenty  years  ago  more  than  100 
per  day  passed — now  not  one.  .  .  .  Remember  that  by  select- 
ing Saturday  as  your  day  for  coming  here,  you  will  enable  me 
to  introduce  you  to  the  quiet  service  and  interior  of  our  little 
village  church,  which  I  think  you  will  be  pleased  with.  I  feel 
quite  happy  at  the  idea  of  your  being  in  England. 

In  the  old  country,  where  your  face  and  blue  cloak  are  not 
known,  I  hope  you  will  feel  that  for  the  few  months  you  are  to 
be  among  us,  you  are  fairly  entitled  to  enjoy  your  holiday ;  let 
your  moustachios l  grow,  and  do  as  you  like ! 

Sir  John  Pakington  also  writes  : — 

I  have  heard  with  great  satisfaction  of  your  visit  to 
England,  and  I  look  forward  with  great  pleasure  to  seeing 
you  again. 

Journal  continued. 

3rd  February  (Saturday). — I  went  by  railway  to  Chelten- 
ham to  see  Mr.  Merry,  now  in  his  ninety-fourth  year.2 

Some  days  after  I  went  to  town  and  dined  with  Sir 
Robert  and  Lady  Inglis.  I  met  there  the  Bishop  of  Lichfield 

1  Moustachios  were  now  just  coming  into  general  wear  in  England. 
Before  the  Crimean  War  they  were  worn,  as  a  rule,  by  heavy  cavalry 
alone.     Sir  Francis  probably  knew  that  my  father,  like  many  others  of 
his  date,  had  no  great  liking  for  them. 

2  He  died  on  the  23rd  November  following. 


xiv   SIR  F.  HEAD—MEETING  OF  S.P.G.   367 

(Lonsdale),  Lord  Hatherton,  Mr.   Arthur  Mills,   Mr.   Dudley 
IVrcival,  son  of  Spencer  IVrcival,1  and  si-vi-ral  oth 

I  received  a  letter  from  tin-  Socirtv  for  the  Propagation  of 
the  Gospel  in  Foreign  Parts  informing  nu-  that  I  had  lately 
1>< •«  n  elected  a  vice-president,  and  by  special  request  attended  :i 
meeting  of  a  select  committee  appointed  to  report  on  the  late 
Clergy  Reserves  Act  passed  in  Canada,  and  a  letter  from  the 
Hishop  of  Toronto  of  6th  January  thereupon.  I  found  the 
discus-ion  very  pleasantlv  and  courteously  conducted,  and  I 
believe  I  was  of  use.  On  this  occasion  the  Bishop  of  Liehfield, 
Lord  Hohert  Cecil,  Mr.  Hawkins,  and  the  Bishop  of  New 
Zealand-  were  present.  The  Bishop  of  London  came  in  for  a 
short  time. 

I  saw  much  to  admire  in  the  Bishop  of  N'ew  Xi-aland,  who 
was  to  sail  in  about  ten  days  for  his  diocese,  in  a  small  \ 
of  his  own,  which  he  navigates  as  captain.  He  has  a  good 
athletic  frame,  broad  square  shoulders,  not  encumbered  with 
flesh,  a  fine  forehead,  good  face,  kind  expression  of  counte- 
nance, yet  shrewd  and  determined,  and  speaks  most  fluently 
and  to  the  purpose — full  of  good  humour,  and  with  great  life 
and  spirit,  seeming  at  home  in  everything. 

I  had  before  attended  the  February  monthly  meeting  of 
the  Society,  at  which  from  thirty  to  forty  were  present.  The 
Bishop  of  Jamaica  3  spoke  of  my  nomination  to  be  vice-president 
in  very  complimentary  terms. 

I  dined  with  Krnest  Hawkins,  4  Dean  Street,  Park  Lane, 
the  Bishop  of  Lichfield,  "Sam  Slick"  (Judge  Haliburton), 
Charles  Lefroy,  Mr.  Hickards  and  wife,  Mr.  Walker,  Henry 
and  Emily,  and  some  others,  a  pleasant  party. 

Mr.  Haliburton  was  in  great  spirits — has  a  book  just  coming 
out — I  had  much  talk  with  him.4 


1  Prime  Minister  assassinated  by  Jiellingham  in  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, lolL>. 

-'  The  well-known  Bishop  Selwyii. 
Aubrey  George  Spencer. 

4  Of  tin's  party  "Henry"  is  Captain  (afterwards  Sir  Henry)  J.  H. 
Lefroy,  Charles  Lefroy,  his  brother,  the  Rev.  Krnest  Hawkins,  and 
Mr.  (afterwards  Sir  (icor-tO  Kirkards,  his  brother-in-law.  The  Hev. 
Krnest  Hawkins  was  Canon  of  Westminster  and  secretary  to  the  Society 
for  the  Propagation  of  the  Gospel.  Judge  Haliburton's  book  was  no 
doubt  "Nature  and  Human  Nature,"  published  1855. 


368    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON   CH. 

Judge  Haliburton  was  an  old  acquaintance  of  my 
father,  and  in  connection  with  his  name  I  give  the 
following  note  from  him,  written  a  few  years  before 
this  date  : — 

WINDSOR.  NOVA  SCOTIA,  14Jh  September  1847. 

MY  DEAR  CHIEF-JUSTICE, — I  received  your  note  with  very 
great  pleasure. 

It  would  afford  me  infinite  gratification  to  have  an  oppor- 
tunity of  renewing  my  acquaintance  with  you,  either  here,  in 
Canada,  or  in  dear  old  England.  There  are  many  subjects 
which  I  should  delight  in  talking  over  with  you,  in  most  of 
which  I  believe  we  fully  agree. 

These  are,  however,  all  too  prolix  for  the  limits  of  a  note, 
which  only  enables  me  to  assure  you  of  my  very  great  respect 
and  regard. — I  am,  my  dear  Sir,  yours  always, 

TH.  HALIBURTOX. 

Journal  continued. 

Dined  and  breakfasted  with  Sir  Robert  Inglis.  We  had 
agreeable  parties.  Henry  and  Emily,  Colonel  Sabine,  the 
Bishop  of  Jamaica,  Mr.  Mills,  Mrs.  Erskine  and  daughter,  and 
various  others.  Sabine *  I  had  not  seen  since  he  was  in  Canada 
in  1814-15  as  lieutenant  of  artillery. 

I  was  taken  by  Sir  Robert  Inglis  to  dine  with  the  Royal 
Society  Club  at  the  Freemasons1  Tavern  at  six  o'clock.  Sir 
Robert  presided.  There  were  Sir  Benjamin  Brodie,2  Professor 
Wheatstone,3  a  man  of  remarkable  talent,  unassuming  and 
amiable,  with  a  great  turn  for  mechanical  science. 

Sir  Benjamin  Brodie  looks  well  and  active,  but  is  thin  and 
stoops.  He  sat  next  me.  I  had  seen  a  good  deal  of  him  when 
I  was  last  in  England. 

1  Sir  E.  Sabine,  R.A.,  served  in  the  war  in  Canada  in  1813-14.     He 
established  magnetic  observatories  in  Toronto  and  the  colonies  generally 
in  1840.     President  of  the  Royal  Society  1861,  and  died  in  1883  in  his 
95th  year. 

2  Sir  Benjamin  Brodie,  the  celebrated  surgeon,  President  of  the  Royal 
Society,  1858-62. 

3  Professor  Wheatstone  was  the  first  to  render  the  telegraph  available 
for  the  public  transmission  of  messages. 


xiv  ROYAL    SOCIETY    rLTH  369 

Sir  Robert  Inglis  proposed  the  health  of  tli  s,  and 

was  pleased  to  express  himself  in  terms  quite  tot)  laudatr 
iin  .  st.!itin«j  what  Sir  Robert  Peel  had  told  him  of  the  impres- 
sions he  had  derived  from  his  conversations  with  me.      I  had  to 

something  in  reply,  only  two  or  three1  sentem 

Th'-  secretary  read  (as  all  papers  are  read  here  by  the 
secretary)  a  long  paper  by  a  Mr.  Gosse,  I  believe  the  naturalist, 
who  lived  for  some  years  in  the  townships  of  Lower  Canada, 
on  some  subject  of  entomology-1  After  it  was  read  Mr. 
Huxley  -  spoke  on  its  general  features,  partly  agreeing,  partly 
questioning, 

Whoever  set  our  Canadian  Institute  going — I  believe 
Lefroy ---copied  very  exactly  the  routine  of  proceedings  at 
sik-h  meetings  in  England. 

In  the  Royal  Society's  room  I  saw  on  the  table  an  old 
thick  volume,  in  which  evcrv  Fellow  of  the  Society  has  signed 
his  name,  among  others  Charles  II.,  Newton,  John  Kvelvn,  and 
celebrities  without  end. 

I  attended  a  debate  in  the  House  of  Commons,  when  Lord 
Palmerston  gave  his  explanation  of  his  taking  office  as  Premier, 
after  Lord  J.  RusselPs  retirement.  It  was  an  interesting 
debate.  I  heard  besides  Sir  J.  Graham,  Disraeli,  Roebuck. 
Layard.  Duncombe,  and  many  others.  Lord  Palmerston 
shows  best  in  replying  to  an  attack.  Disraeli  said  some 
caustic  clever  things,  but  was  too  laboured — not  easy  and 
natural. 

My  father  constantly  attended  the  Law  Courts  in 
England,  when  opportunity  offered,  being  interested 
in  comparing  their  procedure  with  that  of  the 
Canadian  Courts. 

I  got,  he  writes,  from  Julius  Airey 4  a  printed  circuit  paper, 


1    Philip  H.  (lO-ise.  author  of  the  '"'Canadian  Naturalist." 

-   Huxley,  well-known  naturalist,  President  Royal  Society,  died  Hi!).r>. 

3  Sir  Henry  b't'roy  had  much  to   do  with  the  Canadian   Institute  at 
Toronto,  and  was  its  president  for  three  or  four  y 

4  He  and  his   brother,    Sir    Richard    (afterwards    Lord)   Airey,   were 
nephews  of  Colonel  Talbot  (see  chap,  xii.),  and  had  been  in  Canada  for 
some  years. 

2  A 


370    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

as  I  wished  to  attend  the  assizes  at  some  town  where  I  should 
probably  see  the  business  best  conducted  ;  and  I  chose  York,  as 
Parke  and  Cresswell  were  to  preside  there,  and  I  should  have 
time  to  see  the  Minster  well,  and  make  acquaintance  with  Dr. 
Morris  living  near.  Julius  gave  me  a  note  to  Mrs.  Cresswell,  a 
relative  of  his.  They  were  then  on  the  circuit  at  Newcastle. 

Sir  Francis  Head  writes  to  him  a  little  later  on  : — 

I  was,  and  am,  amused  at  your  affection  for  our  Courts  of 
Law.  I  should  have  thought  that  during  your  holiday  they 
would  have  been  the  very  last  places  you  would  have  visited. 
"  Mais  on  retourne  toujours  a  son  premier  amour,11  and  you 
therefore  leave  Lady  R.  for  your  first  love,  "  The  Court." 

As  my  father's  references  to  well-known  Judges 
of  this  date  may  have  an  interest  to  legal  men, 
especially  in  Canada,  I  give  several  extracts  from  his 
Journal  alluding  to  them. 

Journal  continued  (no  date). 

I  saw  Lord  Campbell  and  Chief-Justice  Jervis,  and  Pollock, 
trying  causes  at  the  Guildhall.  I  liked  Jervis's  manner 
best.  I  saw  also  Sir  William  Page  Wood,1  and  V.  C.  Stuart 
sitting  in  Equity. 

On  Tuesday,  6th  March,  I  left  London  at  half-past  nine 
A.M.,  for  York.  Fitzgerald  of  Toronto  was  going  to  Edin- 
burgh, and  I  proposed  to  him  to  go  with  me  and  stop  a  day 
or  two  at  York. 

We  went  to  the  Minster  for  afternoon  service  at  four 
o'clock.  I  had  a  letter  to  Dr.  Bower,  D.C.L.,  a  brother-in- 
law  of  Dr.  Morris.  Dr.  Morris 2  came  over  from  Driffield  to 
meet  me  here,  and  next  day  we  both  dined  at  Dr.  Bower's,  and 
met  an  agreeable  party,  among  them  Samuel  Warren — author 

1  Afterwards  Lord  Hatherley,  Lord  Chancellor. 

2  Dr.  Beverley  Robinson  Morris,  descended  from  the  Colonel  Morris 
who    married  Mary  Philipse,  the  sister  of  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson's 
wife  (Susannah  Philipse:  see  page  13),  afterwards  came  out  to  Canada  and 
practised  as  a  medical  man  for  a  time  in  Toronto. 


xiv  YORK   ASSIZES  371 

of  "The  Diary  of  a  London  Physician,"  and  *  ri 0.000  a 
Year" — now  Registrar  of  I  lull,  ami  attending  the  Assi/es  here 
;i>  a  barrister.  A  pleasant  man,  looking  young  and  in  great 
spirits.  I  saw  the  Criminal  Court  opened  by  Cresswell ]  on 
Wednesday,  and  on  Thursday  went  and  introduced  niv^elf  to 
him.  He  made  me  sit  bv  him,  and  asked  me  to  dine  with  him 
and  .Judge  Parke  on  Friday,  which  I  did.  The  Grand  Jurv 
were  of  the  party,  and  many  others.  Baron  Parke  2  was  late 
in  getting  away  from  the  Ni.M  Priiis  Court,  and  kept  us  an 
hour,  but  he  made  up  for  all  when  he  came,  so  full  of  good- 
humour  and  fun,  the  very  picture  of  it.  The  foreman  of  the 
Grand  Jury  is  Lord  Dundas. 

Baron  Parke  took  Fitzgerald  ami  me  with  him  in  his 
carriage  to  U  evening  party  at  the  "  Residence  House."  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  \V.  Vernon  llarcourt  were  our  hosts.  He  is  Canon 
Residentiary,  and  one  of  the  Prebends. :;  We  met  here  a  large 
party. 

The  High  Sheriff  (Mr.  Brown  of  Kossington)  called  on  me 
and  asked  me  to  dine  with  him  on  Sunday.  On  Sunday  I  went 
to  the  Cathedral.  The  Judges,  Sheriff,  Mayor,  and  Corpora- 
tion went  in  state.  The  choir  was  crowded.  It  was  a  spec- 
tacle well  worth  crossing  the  Atlantic  to  see.  The  Cathedral 
appears  to  me  perfect,  especially  this  portion  of  it.  We  had  a 
pleasant  party  at  the  Sheriffs  (twelve,  I  think). 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  llarcourt  sent  a  kind  invitation  to  dinner  on 
Tuesday,  which  I  was  obliged  to  decline. 

I  went  next  day  into  the  Nisi  Prius  Court,  where  Baron 
Parke  presided. 

I  was  amused  with  the  Baron's  good-humoured  way  of 
getting  through  the  business.  He  let  counsel  take  their  own 
course,  and  very  rarely  interrupted  them,  and  never  seemed 
impatient ;  laughed  at  all  the  jokes,  whether  good  or  bad. 
Once  when  a  counsel  strenuously  persisted  in  endeavouring  to 


1  Sir  Cresswell  CresswelJ,  Puisne  J  mi-re  (  ourt  of  Common  Pleas,  after- 
wards Judge  of  Court  of  Probate  and  Divorce  ;  died  1863. 

2  Baron  Parke  was  in  185G  raised  to  the  Peerage  as  Lord  Wensleydale. 

3  Canon  of  York  1H'24,  was  virtually  the  founder  of  the  British  Associa- 
tion ;  died  1871. 


372    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

establish  some  point  of  law  which  the  Baron  thought  absurd 
and  untenable,  he  said,  "  Surely  you  don't  mean  to  contend — 
so  and  so,"  and  on  the  counsel  earnestly  stating  that  he  did, 
the  Baron  laughed  outright  in  his  face,  as  much  as  to  say 
"  You're  a  funny  fellow,  to  be  sure,"  and  merely  said,  "  Oh, 
nonsense,  nonsense,"  and  so  put  an  end  to  the  argument  much 
more  conveniently  than  by  treating  it  seriously,  and  bringing 
on  the  kind  of  altercation  that  we  often  see  in  Court. 

Cresswell  is  a  most  able  Judge.  I  can  conceive  nothing  of 
the  kind  better  than  his  summing  up  of  a  criminal  case.  He 
keeps  the  whole  thread  of  the  narrative  and  the  ins  and  outs 
of  the  evidence  wonderfully  clear  in  his  mind,  and  remarks  on 
the  testimony  in  an  impartial,  reasonable,  and  particularly 
lucid  manner,  but  he  has  not  Parkers  amenity,  courtesy,  and 
good-humour. 

From  the  time  my  father  left  York  until  the  18th 
April  1855,  he  kept  no  journal,  which,  he  says,  "  I 
am  sorry  for,  as  I  met  many  pleasant  people,  and  saw 
much  that  was  worth  noting." 

He  evidently,  however,  visited  Sir  Francis  Head, 
as  the  latter  writing  from  Oxenden  on  the  1st  April, 
says,  "  I  have  been  very  constantly  thinking  of  the 
happiness  I  and  Lady  Head  enjoyed  at  seeing  you 
here." 

He  also  mentions  dining  at  Sir  John  Pakington's, 
whom  he  saw  again  more  than  once  on  this  visit. 

Journal  continiied. 

18th  April— I  dined  at  the  Bishop  of  Exeter's,  17  All 
marie  Street.      Next  me  on   my  left  was  Hallam,1  now 
eighty,  but  hale,  and  with  all  his  faculties  perfect,  his  memory 
excellent,  and  great  good-humour.     He  would  make  me  pi 
cede  him  in  going  in,  notwithstanding  my  insisting  that  I 

1  Hallam,  the  historian,  author  of  ( '  View  of  the  State  of  Europe  dui 
the  Middle  Ages"  (1818). 


xiv          DEATH    OF    SIR    R.    IXCiLIS          373 

" after  the  Middle  Ages."  Next  him  sat  the  Bishop,  Mi-. 
Phillpotts  never  dining  on  such  occasions.  Next  him  was 
Lord  Lyndhurst,  then  Baron  Alderson,1  Mr.  ('avi-iulish.  Sir 
William  Heathcote,  Lord  Lovaine  son  of  Lord  Bevc 
the  Bishop  of  Peterboro\2  a  son  of  Lord- Justice  Kiiight-Uruce,3 
and  the  Lord  Chief-Justice  himself,  who  sat  on  my  right.  We 
had  much  delightful  conversation,  especially  from  Hallam,  the 
Bishop  of  Exeter,  and  Lord  Lyndhurst,  the  youngest  of  whom 
is  seventy- seven.  All  remembered  hearing  Pitt,  Fox,  Burke.  \c. 
We  had  no  end  of  professional  anecdotes  of  the  Bench  and  Bar, 
in  which  Baron  Alderson  ex> 

Lord  Lyndhurst  has  become  very  infirm,  but  still  clear  and 
vigorous  in  his  mental  faculties.  He  did  not  come  up  into  the 
drawing-room  before  dinner,  but  sat  in  the  dining-room  till 
dinner  was  announced,  to  save  the  fatigue  of  walking  upstairs. 
After  dinner  he  came  upstairs  without  help. 

I  like  Alderson  much. 

My  excellent  old  friend,  Sir  Robert  Inglis,  died  on  Saturday, 
5th  May.  I  had  seen  him  a  very  few  days  before,  when  he 
told  me  that  he  was  not  recovering  his  strength  after  an  i!! 
which  had  commenced  with  a  cold  in  December  last,  and  that 
he  had  been  warned  that  he  might  drop  off  at  any  time 
suddenly. 

It  was  so,  in  fact,  for  he  was  in  his  drawing-room  in  the 
evening,  and  died  in  the  same  night. 

I  have  not  met  more  kindness  from  any  one  in  England. 
Considering  that  our  acquaintance  was  casual,  commencing 
with  his  calling  upon  me  in  1839  without  any  introduction,  it 
was  remarkable. 

Sir  Robert  Inglis's  cordial  friendship  my  father 
much  valued.     The  YV///<.s,  in  announcing  his  death, 
says :    "A   more   conscientious   man   never   ent< 
the  walls  of  Parliament.     Destroy  fifty   able   poli- 

1  Sir  Edward  Alderson,  Judge,  died  18,57. 

2  George  Davys. 

8  Sir  James  Lewis  Kuight-Bruce,  Lord  Justice,  Court  of  Chancerv  ; 
died  1866. 


374    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

ticians,  and  twice  fifty  able  administrators,  and  it 
needs  but  five  minutes'  search  to  replace  them,  but 
we  much  question  if  there  be  a  man  in  England 
who  can  take  the  place  Sir  Robert  Inglis  filled  as 
representative  of  the  University  of  Oxford." 

Journal  continued. 

I  attended,  on  two  days,  the  Courts  sitting  in  Westminster 
Hall  in  Term  (Easter). 

Lord  Campbell l  despatches  business  well,  is  earnest  in  his 
attention,  his  hearing  perfect,  and  his  memory,  as  it  seemed  to 
me,  quite  unimpaired. 

In  the  Common  Pleas,  Jervis,  C.J.,2  is  an  acute  business 
man,  but  looks  in  ill-health. 

I  was  most  in  the  Exchequer,  because  they  were  delivering 
judgments  there.  The  Judges  all  gave  their  judgments  orally 
from  notes,  as  I  suppose  they  generally  do,  when  they  dispose 
in  the  term  of  cases  argued  that  term.  These  judgments 
delivered  orally  are  far  less  satisfactory  than  written  judg- 
ments— rambling,  and  not  so  clear,  or  so  well  arranged. 

Parke,  B.,  delivers  his  judgment  clearly  and  pleasantly, 
giving  his  reasons  distinctly  and  agreeably.  Platt 3  was  rather 
dogmatic — "  I  totally  deny,"  &c.  Martin 4  spoke  clearly  and 
with  a  particularly  good  voice. 

.  .  .  On  the  whole,  I  saw  nothing  very  peculiar  in  the 
system  here.  Like  circumstances  seem  to  produce  like  courses 
and  consequences,  here  and  there  (i.e.  in  England  and  Upper 
Canada). 

I  went  also  to  the  House  of  Lords,  and  heard  an  argument 
of  a  Scotch  appeal  on  the  construction  of  a  will — whether  an 
estate  vested  or  not  according  to  Scotch  law. 

It  was  evidently  an  appeal  in  effect  from  a  Court  of  several 
judges  in  Scotland  to  the  English  Lord  Chancellor  on  a  point 

1  Raised  to  the  Peerage  1841 ;  Lord  Chief-Justice  1850 ;  Lord  Chan- 
cellor 1851). 

3  Sir  John  Jervis,  Chief-Justice  of  the  Common  Pleas ;  died  1856. 

3  Sir  Thomas  Platt,  Baron  of  the  Exchequer  ;  died  1862. 

4  Sir  Samuel  Martin,  Baron  of  the  Exchequer  ;  died  1883. 


- 


xiv      LAW   COURTS   AND  CANADA 

of  Scotch  law,  and  that  Chancellor  often  appointed  from  poli- 
tical considerations.      It  seems  unsatisfactory,  but  I  belie- 
not  complained  of. 

We  attended,  upon  Dr.  Jelfs  l   invitation,  the  annual  dis- 
tribution   of   pri/es    to    medical    students    in    Kind's    Col. 
Somerset  House. 

Kinma,   Mary,  and  I  took  luncheon  •  at  the  Principal 
at  three  walked  over  to  the  collt 

The  Bishop  of  Winchester2  presided  and  presented  the 
prizes,  and  did  it  happily  and  well. 

I  was  asked  by  Lord  Radstock  to  second  the  motion  for  a 
vote  of  thanks  to  the  Hishop,  which  I  did,  and  made  a  short 
speech. 

At   M'ClintockV  Chester  Square,   I    met   at    dinn. 
Edward  Ryan,4   P.C.,   a  member  of  the  Judicial   Comm: 
diaries  Lefroy,  Mr.  and  Mrs  Moodv  —  >1:  r  of  Bennett's 

father,  our  young  friend  in  Toronto,  and  a  clever,  well-read 
woman. 

I  Sir  Kdward  Ryan  spoke  to  me  of  the  appeal  case,  Holmes 
.  Matthews  (just  determined),  said  it  was  a  very  interesting 
one,  and  was  most  strong  and  emphatic  in  his  praise  of  the 
ability  shown  in  the  judgment*  sent  from  Upper  Canada  in 
that  and  the  other  cases.  He  said  it  was  a  matter  of  great 
remark  every  term.  He  regretted  that  I  was  not  present  at 
the  argument  and  judgment,  to  hear  in  what  terms  our  judg- 
ments \\ere  ^pokeil  of. 

llth  MID/.  —  I  attended  a  levee  at  St.  James's  Palace. 
There  was  an  enormous  crowd  —  not  less,  they  said,  than 


As  I  was  rising  I  observed  the  Quei-n  was  saying  something 
to   me  with  a   very   benignant  smile,  and    in    a   soft    pleasing 


1   R.  W.  Jelf,  D.D..  1'rindpal  of  Kind's  Colle::. 
-hop  Sunnier,  Bishop  of  Winchester  j  li5_7 

First   Lord   Rathdonnell,  married   Mi»    I.ef'rm,  Bister  of  Sir  Henry 
Lefroy. 

!  Sir   Kdward   Ryan.  Assistant  Controller  of  the   Kxchequer,  If!" 
Had  been  Chief-Juttae  of  licn-ral ;  died  1 

6  He  was  presented  by  tlie  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies  on  re- 
ceiving the  baronetage. 


376    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

voice ;  but  not  expecting  that  she  would  say  anything,  I  did 
not  catch  a  word.  I  suppose  it  was  some  form  of  congratula- 
tion. 

I  wore  the  Order  of  the  Bath  and  my  Detroit  medal. 
Warren l  wondered  what  it  could  be,  and  was,  or  seemed,  in- 
credulous when  I  told  him  that  it  was  not  on  account  of  any 
fight  in  Court,  but  for  taking  part  in  the  capture  of  Detroit 
forty-two  years  ago. 

I  dined  the  same  day  with  Mr.  Franks  of  the  Canada 
Company,  27  Cumberland  Street,  Portman  Square.  I  observed 
here  the  new  style  2  fully  carried  out.  The  gentleman  of  the 
house  leads  the  way  to  dinner,  with  the  lady  among  the  guests 
who  has  precedence.  The  lady  of  the  house  stands  fast,  and 
the  lady-guests  keep  their  seats  till  she  calls  forward  gentlemen 
one  by  one  to  take  them  out,  having  probably  resolved  before- 
hand who  shall  take  whom.  Then,  when  all  were  paired  and 
sent  off,  I  followed  with  her. 

In  coming  into  the  drawing-room,  before  dinner,  the  husband 
and  wife  in  every  case  walked  forward  separately,  not  arm  in 
arm. 

I4fth  May. — I  dined  with  Sir  Henry  Holland.  His  son 
having  very  lately  lost  his  wife,  he  could  have  no  large  party. 
Besides  myself,  there  was  only  Baron  Alderson  and  Mr.  Bram- 
well,5  Q.C.,  one  of  the  Common  Law  Commissioners  and  a 
leading  counsel  on  the  home  circuit.  Sir  Henry  Holland's 
wife  is  a  daughter  of  the  Rev.  Sydney  Smith,  the  Edinburgh 
Reviewer.  There  is  just  coming  out  a  life  of  Sydney  Smith 
written  by  her. 

Bramwell  visited  America,  as  I  understood  him,  last  year, 
and  had  a  letter  to  me,  but  did  not  reach  Toronto.  He  amused 
me,  when  I  was  introduced  to  him,  by  telling  me  that  while 
in  Lower  Canada  he  inquired,  "  Suppose  the  independence  of 


1  Samuel  Warren,  whom  he  had  met  at  the  levee,  author  of  "  Diary 
of  a  Physician,"  &c. 

2  This  seems  rather  to  fix  the  present  custom  as  having  come  in  about 
1855. 

3  George  William  Bramwell,  Baron  of  the  Exchequer,  1856,  after- 
wards Lord  Bramwell. 


xiv  QUEEN'S    LEVEE  377 

Canada  should  be  conceded,  who  would  he  fir>t  President?"" 
and  was  told,  "Without  doubt,  Chief-Justice  Robinson  ! " 

I  told  him  that  he  must  have  fallen  in  with  some  of  my 
confederates,  but  that  I  had  no  such  aspirations. 

Sir  Henry  was  warm  in  his  admiration  of  Bond's  Lake,1 
which  Christopher  drove  him  out  to  see. 

Baron  Alderson  is  full  of  fun  and  good-humour,  and  very 
unassuming  in  his  manner. 

Sir  Henry  Holland2  more  than  once  visited 
America.  The  following  is  a  letter  from  him  to  my 
father,  written  two  years  before  this  date  :— 

L':{  MHIIOK  STIIKKT,  LoiOXUTj  March  1H,   1  •' 

MY  DKAK   CHIKI  -.IIMK  i:, — Your  letter  of  the  15th  January 
uas  in  every  way   most  welcome  to   me,  but  above  all   a 
expression  of  your  friendship  and  esteem,  upon  which,  whether 
meeting  again  or  not,  I  shall  ever  set  great  value. 

Whether  I  may  visit  America  a  third  time  is  doubtful. 
Perhaps  (and  I  shall  gladly  believe  this)  it  is  more  probable 
that  you  may  come  over  to  England,  to  see  what  we  are  doing 
on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic.  You  will  find  this  old  country 
of  ours  in  a  prosperous  state,  and  with  every  aspect  and  likeli- 
hood of  further  advancement,  if  we  do  not  run  on  too  fast,  or 
if  a  war  with  France  does  not  intervene.  In  the  latter  event 
few  can  bring  themselves  seriously  to  believe,  but,  strangely 
enough,  a  question  thus  deeply  important  really  depends  on 
the  individual  character  and  position  of  the  man  who  has  by  a 
sort  of  miracle  (made  up,  however,  of  sagacious  cunning,  bold- 
ness, and  chance)  placed  himself  on  the  throne  of  that  country. 
Little  did  I  think  of  this  eventuality  when  (twenty-one  years 
ago)  I  was  called  to  attend  him  in  a  serious  illness  in  a  London 
lodging,  or  again,  more  recently,  when  I  attended  him  profes- 
sionally about  the  time  of  his  Boulogne  expedition.  I  never 

1  About  twenty  miles  north  of  Toronto. 

•  Very  eminent  as  a  physician,  and  created  a  baronet ;  father  of  the 
present  Lord  Knutsford,  for  some  years  Secretary  of  State  for  the 
Colonies. 


378    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

thought  him  a  commonplace  man,  as  many  here  did,  but  I  must 
fairly  own  that  I  formed  no  conception  of  the  singular  faculties 
he  has  since  displayed.  .  .  . 

Let  me  entreat  you  to  remember  me  with  kindness  to  every 
one  of  your  family  now  in  Toronto.  I  shall  ever  retain  a  sense 
of  your  kindness  to  myself  when  with  you. 

Farewell,  my  dear  Chief-Justice,  and  believe  me,  with  great 
regard,  yours  faithfully,  H.  HOLLAND. 

16th  May. — I  dined  with  Lord  Lyndhurst.  I  sat  between 
Lord  Hardwicke  and  Mr.  Walpole,  late  Secretary  of  State. 
The  rest  of  our  party  were  the  Marquis  of  Salisbury,  Lord 
Stanley,  Lord  Campbell,  C.J.,  and  Edward  Ellice — Lady 
Lyndhurst  the  only  lady. 

17th  May. — I  dined  with  Ernest  Hawkins.  We  had  Judge 
Coleridge  there,  his  daughter,  son,  and  son-in-law,  and  several 
others. 

Coleridge l  is  a  fine  old  man,  most  interesting  in  appearance 
and  kind  in  his  manners.  We  discussed  many  things,  very 
agreeably — to  me  at  least. 

At  half-past  seven  I  went  to  37  Chesham  Street  to  the 
birthday  dinner.2 

The  dinner  has  lost  half  its  'splendour  as  compared  with 
former  times,  in  consequence  of  the  separation  of  the  Depart- 
ment of  War  from  that  of  the  Colonies.  When  I  was  last  here 
fifteen  years  ago,  I  dined  at  Lord  Normanby's,  then  Secretary 
of  State  for  the  Colonies,  and  we  had  a  very  large  and  brilliant 
party,  Lord  Hill  and  all  the  Staff  of  the  Army.  .  .  . 

We  had  I   suppose  about  twenty-four  or  twenty-six, 
found  Lord  John  much  older  looking.     He  was  very  courteoi 
to  me,  and  called  me  up  next  to  the  Duke  of  Argyll,  who  sal 
on  his  left.    The  Bishop  of  Sierra  Leone,3  just  consecrated,  w* 
next  me  on  my  left.     Lord  Elgin  was  on  Lord  J.  RusselP 


1  Sir  John  Taylor  Coleridge,  Judge  of  the  Queen's  Bench  ;   retired 
1858  ;  died  1876  ;  father  of  John  Duke  Coleridge  (Lord  Coleridge,  Soli- 
citor-General 1868,  and  afterwards  Chief-Justice  Court  of  Common  Pleas). 

2  Dinner  given  on  the  Queen's  birthday  by  Lord  J.  Russell,  Secretary 
of  State  for  the  Colonies. 

3  John  Wills  Weeks. 


xiv      QUEEN'S   BIRTHDAY    DINNER 

right,  opposite  to  me.  There  were  few  others  that  I  knew  or 
whose  names  I  caught. 

His  Grace,   Lord   John,   Lord   Elgin,   and   I   had   a    good 
deal  of  conversation  together,  and  I  had  much  talk  with  my 
neighbour,  the  Bishop.      He  told  me  he  had  lived  twenty  J 
at  Sierra  Leone.     I  found  lie  knew  William  Stanton  well.1 

I  came  home  at  half-past  ten.  Many  houses  on  my  way 
were  brilliantly  illuminated. 

18/7*  Mat/. — I  went  at  half- past  twelve  to  a  meeting  of  the 
Financial  Committee  of  the  Society  for  the  Propagation  of  the 
(iospel  in  Foreign  Paris,  as  the  matter  to  be-  considered  was  the 
Bishop  of  Toronto's  request  for  aid  from  the  Society  to  enable 
us  to  carry  out  the  Commutation  Scheme.  We  spent  two 
hours  over  the  question.  About  fifty  attended,  clergy  and 
laitv.  Lord  Powis  spoke.  He  afterwards  got  himself  intro- 
duced to  me,  when  he  thanked  me  in  warm  terms  for  the  kind- 
ness he  .said  we  had  shown  his  brother,  PC  rev  Herbert  of  the  4'5rd, 
in  Toronto.-  The  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  was  in  the  chair. 

Dined  at  the  Lefroys'.  Met  Aylmer,  Julius  Airev,  and 
young  Hobinson,  grandson  of  Sir  William,  a  clerk  in  the 
commissariat  branch,  at  the  War  Office.3 

19th  May. — Went  with  J.  M'Clintock,  Sir  George  Forster, 
Mr.  Forster,  and  Mr.  Vere  from  the  Carlton  Club  to  see  the 
immense  steamer,  the  Gn-at  Eastern,  building  on  the  Isle  of 
Dogs.  We  went  from  Hungerford  Stairs  in  a  small  steamer 
down  the  river  till  we  got  opposite  to  the  shipyard.  Then  we 
got  into  a  small  boat,  rowed  ashore,  and  visited  the  monster. 

She  is  695  feet  long,  of  iron,  built  in  compartments,  and 
we  were  told  will  have  four  engines,  in  all  &500  horse-power, 
which  seems  small  ;4  she  is  but  little  advanced,  but  is  expected 
to  be  launched  this  year. 

1   William  Stanton  of  Toronto,  and  in  the  Commissariat  Department. 

Afterwards  Sir  Percy  Herbert,  who  was  on  the  Quartermaster- 
(ii'iiend's  Staff  in  the  Crimea,  and  subsequently  Quartermaster-General 
of  the  Army. 

3  \\".  II.  B.  Robinson,  died  unmarried  at  Bermuda  in  1!',.V>. 

4  This  was  one  of  the  chief  reasons  probably  for  the  want  of 

the  f-rrnt  Ka*tern.  Of  our  present  largest  steamers  the  Cflric  and  Celtic 
only  exceed  her  in  length  by  five  feet,  but  their  engines  have  seven  times 
greater  horse- power. 


380    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 


May  (Sunday).  —  We  went  to  Dr.  Cumming's  chapel, 
Crown  Court,  near  Drury  Lane.  Mr.  Moffat,  M.P.,  our  fellow- 
passenger  from  Boston,  had  given  us  seats  which  he  had  there. 
It  was  crowded.  The  sermon  was  remarkable  for  ease  of 
elocution,  grace,  and  fluency,  without  effort  or  any  attempt 
at  display,  the  matter  sound  and  sensible.  No  clap-trap 
either  in  the  sentimental  or  any  other  line.  They  are  lucky 
Presbyterians  who  have  such  a  pastor. 

2lst  May.  —  We  went  in  a  carriage  with  two  horses,  taking 
Emily  with  us,  to  Woolwich,  to  see  Captain  and  Mrs.  Young- 
husband  l  and  visit  the  Arsenal.  We  lunched  at  the  Young- 
husbands1,  and  then  went  with  him  and  Jonas  Jones  2  to  the 
Arsenal.  We  were  much  interested  in  our  visit  to  the  various 
workshops. 

22nd  May.  —  I  went  to  a  conversazione  at  the  S.P.G.  rooms, 
79  Pall  Mall,  after  having  first  gone  with  Henry  Lefroy  to 
see  the  experiments  made  by  Mr.  Goldsworthy  Gurney  on 
the  power  of  the  Bude  light.  I  was  amazed  by  the  dazzling 
brilliancy  of  the  light,  and  it  seems  to  be  obtained  by  a  very 
simple  process.  I  was  much  struck  with  Lefroy's  quickness 
and  apparent  familiarity  with  the  principles  of  optics  and 
recent  discoveries  respecting  them,  as  well  as  his  ready  com- 
prehension of  whatever  in  chemistry  or  otherwise  Mr.  Gurney 
desired  to  explain  to  him.  As  soon  as  we  had  finished  I  went 
to  the  Society's  gathering.  About  sixty  or  seventy  persons 
were  there.  The  Bishop  of  London,  a  bishop  from  Scotland, 
Lord  Powis,  Dr.  Jelf,  King's  College,  a  mixture  of  clergy  and 
laity,  among  them  Tagore,  the  Hindoo  Christian  whom  I  dined 
with  at  Ernest  Hawkins1,  and  a  Samaritan,  a  tall,  fine-looking 
man  from  Mount  Gherizim. 

24*th  May.  —  Dined  at  Mr.  Edward  Ellice's,  18  Arlington 
Street,  the  curious  old  house  of  the  Lord  Arlington  of  the 
"  Cabal  "  in  Charles  II.'s  time. 


1  Afterwards  General  Youughusband  (Royal  Artillery). 

2  A  son  of  the  Mr.  Justice  Jones,  Toronto,  Canada,  mentioned  specially 
by  Sir  Francis  Head  in  "The  Emigrant"  for  services  rendered  to  him 
in  1838. 


xiv    DR.  GUMMING— CAPT.  M-l'I.rKK 

We  had  of  our  party,  besides  young  Kllice.  Lord  Stanley. 
Lady  DufFerin,  Lord  Francis  Seymour,  chairman  of  tin-  Srl>a- 
topol  Committee,  and  Lady  Sevmour,  a  Major  Ra\\  linson,1 
who  has  only  two  days  ago  returned  from  Bagdad,  lit 
not,  he  told  me,  intend  going  out  again,  finding  he  suffers  from 
and  the  danger  to  health  too  great.  I  had  next  to  me 
Captain  McClure,2  who  made  the  North- Wed  passage,  though 
not  with  his  ship.  We  had  much  talk.  He  -crvcd  rigi 
months  on  the  lakes  in  Canada,  chieflv  stationed  at  Kingston, 
and  suddenly  left  it  in  18J3S,  in  consequence  of  having  violated 
the  American  territory  in  pursuing  and  taking  Kelly,  an 
iate  of  Hill  Johnson's,  and  concerned  with  him  in  dest  rov- 
ing the  .Sir  Hubert  7Y<7. 

29///  May. — I  went  with  Henry  in  the  evening  to  a  soi 
the  Civil  Kngiii'-crs,  an  annual  mceti 

Westminster.      Then-  was  an   immense  crowd   of  people.      Mr. 
Simpson,  C.K.,  presided.     I  saw  there  Farad  1;ige,4  and 

many  clever,  eminent  men. 


My  father  now  left  London  for  Bath.  Frenchay, 
^leasby,  &c.,  and  writes  :— 


June. — At  4  left  Bath  for  Frenchav  in  a  Hv.  It  is  four 
miles  from  Bristol,  a  very  pretty  village.  I  found  Colonel 
llobinson — formerly  in  the  72nd  Highlander.^  and  still  on 
half-pay — an  agreeable,  well-informed  man.  His  wife  is  a 
daughter  of  Admiral  Buckle. 

We  spent  a  most  pleasant  evening,  and  had  much  family 
chat  about  friends  known  to  both. 

I    saw   portraits   of  Sir  William    Robinson    and    his    wife 


1  Afterwards  Sir  Henry  Rawlin-on,  diplomatist  and  Orientalist, 
(  <m-ul  at  Bagdad,  1844-65,  Envoy  to  Peiv-ia  IH.11). 

'-'  Captain  (afterwards  Sir  Robert)  McClure,  H.N..  di-cnvrred  the 
North-West  Passage,  but  had  to  abandon  \\\<  ship,  the  hu't'atiyntor. 
Parliament  awarded  officers  and  crew  £'K>.Ooo. 

Michael  Faraday,  celebrated  chemist  and  ph\  11  1791,  died 

18(57. 

'  Charles  Babbage,  mathematician,  inventor  of  the  calculating 
machine. 


382    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Catherine,  daughter  of  General  Skinner.     Sir  William  died  in 
1837,  she  some  years  later. 

I  saw  also  miniatures  of  Colonel  Beverley  Robinson  and  his 
wife  Susannah  Philipse,  a  good-looking  couple.  I  thought  I 
could  trace  Sir  William's  face  plainly  in  his  mother's,  and  the 
Robinson  features  and  face  in  the  Colonel's.  They  have  also  a 
handsome  portrait  of  Sir  William  Robinson  when  about  twenty, 
and  one  of  General  Sir  Frederick  Robinson — small  size,  very 
like — and  showing  him  to  have  been,  what  he  really  was,  a 
splendid  man,  though  this  was  taken  when  he  was  very  old. 

2nd  June. — Left  Frenchay  at  10  A.M.,  and  got  to  Bristol  in 
time  for  the  train  via  Cheltenham,  Birmingham,  and  Derby 
to  York.  It  was  eleven  at  night  when  we  reached  York,  and 
at  2  A.M.  I  took  the  night  train  to  Darlington,  arriving  there 
at  3.5  A.M.,  and  went  to  the  Sun  Inn. 

3rd  June  (Sunday). — Drove  to  Cleasby,  three  miles  up  the 
Tees  from  Darlington,  in  time  for  church. 

After  church  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  the 
curate  of  Cleasby,  the  Rev.  J.  H.  Coombe,  who  took 
him  over  the  church  and  schoolhouse,  showing  him 
several  things  of  interest  in  connection  with  Dr.  John 
Robinson,  Bishop  of  London,  who,  with  his  brother 
Christopher,  the  first  of  the  family  to  emigrate  to 
Virginia,  was  born  in  this  village,  where  he  built  and 
endowed  the  schoolhouse  and  contributed  to  restore 
the  church  and  parsonage.1 

Describing  Cleasby  my  father  writes  : — 

The  Tees  is  a  fine,  clear,  rapid  river,  about  the  size  of  the 
Credit  (in  Upper  Canada)  with  perhaps  a  larger  body  of  water 
in  it.  The  banks  are  of  fine  gravel.  Cleasby  is  certainly  not 
a  go-ahead  place,  but  is  a  sweetly  situated,  quiet,  little  country 
village,  no  appearance  of  decay  about  it,  or  of  wealth  or 
business.  The  whole  population  is  about  200.  It  is  what 

1  See  Appendix  A.,  i. 


xiv  FRENCHAY— CLKASBY  383 

is  called  a  perpetual  curacy,  ami    the  incunih.-nt    for  the    last 
sixteen  years   has   been  the   Rev.  James   Jameson,    who 
altogether  at    Kipon,  and   has   t  n    ('k-n-l>Y  tor   the   last 

ten  years.  I  have  heart!  our  Vice-Chancellor,  the  late  Mr. 
Jameson,  speak  of  his  having  a  brother  a  clergvman  living  at 
Kipon,  and  have  no  doubt  he  is  the  same  man.1 

The  place  has  an  excellent  reputation  for  health,  especially 
in  the  case  of  those  who  have  weak  lungs.  It  is  in  the  North 
Riding  of  Yorkshire,  ami  the  little  river  Tees  divides  it  from 
Durham.  On  all  sides,  from  the  high  lands  in  the  parish,  the 
prospect  is  c-xtivnu-ly  pleasing;  the  water  is  excellent.  The 
situation  is  beautiful  and  convenient,  near  Darlington,  good 
road",  and  pretty  l;i 

There  are  many  good  families  within  a  circuit  of  ten 
miles  ...  I  have  set  down  these  particulars  that  if  any  of 
our  family  should  desire  to  establish  themselves  in  England, 
temporarily  or  otherwise,  they  may  know  that  they  could 
scarcely  do  better  than  buy  a  small  tract,  and  put  up  a  com- 
fortable house  in  the  parish  to  which,  in  England,  they  belong, 
and — what  to  some  people  would  be  a  recommendation,  though 
to  others  the  reverse — is  that  in  the  little  village  itself  tin 
a  good  field  for  improvement,  for  it  has  been  neglected,  and  is 
in  consequence  less  taking  to  the  eye  than  many  others. 

Croft  is  two  miles  off,  through  a  lovely  country  ;  Durham 
about  twenty  ;  Kipon  between  twentv  and  thirty.  At  the  mouth 
of  the  Tees  is  Redcar,  a  bathing-place  with  beautiful  sands.  The 
drive  through  Appleby  to  the  Lakes  in  Westmoreland  and 
Cumberland  is  short — about  thirty  miles  or  so.  .  .  . 

In  the  evening  he  drove  to  Darlington,  and  re- 
turned to  London  via  York  on  Monday,  4th  June. 

Journal  continued. 
I  was  asked  by  Mr.  Weld 1  to  a  conversazione  at  the  Royal 


1  This  was  the  case  ;  the  Rev.  Mr.  Jameson  of  Ripou  being  the  brother 
of  Vice-Chancellor  Jameson  of  Toronto,  whose  wife,  Anna  .Jameson,  was 
the  authoress  of  "Winter  Studies  and  Summer  Kainhles  in  Canada"  (1838). 

2  Mr.  Weld,  my  father  mentions,  was  half  brother  of  Isaac  Weld,  who 
wrote  a  history  of  his  travels  iu  the  United  States  and  Canada  in  1 , 


384    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Society's  rooms  on  the  7th,  and  by  Professor  Potter  to  a 
similar  reunion  of  the  professors,  &c.,  of  the  London  Uni- 
versity for  the  same  evening,  and  by  Baron  Parke  to  dine  with 
him,  but  having  declined  the  two  first  under  the  impression 
that  I  should  be  in  Ireland,  I  declined  the  last  also.  The 
Baron  pressed  me  to  go  the  Norfolk  Circuit  with  him. 

8th  June  (Saturday). — I  went  to  Dublin  by  Holyhead,  taking 
Jonas  Jones  with  me.  We  left  by  the  N.W.  Railway  at  9.15. 
We  stopped  at  Chester  long  enough  to  dine.  We  got  to  Holy- 
head  a  few  minutes  after  the  correct  time,  and  at  about  six  set 
sail  in  the  steamer  Angksea  for  Dublin.  Boat  full  and  weather 
cold. 

We  reached  Kingston  about  eleven,  and  Morrison's  Hotel, 
Dublin,  about  twelve. 

Monday r,  11  th  June. — Before  breakfast  came  an  invitation 
to  dine  to-day  with  the  Lord  Lieutenant,  Lord  Carlisle,  at  the 
Viceregal  Lodge,  in  the  Phoenix  Park. 

Soon  after  ten,  I  took  Jonas  Jones  with  me  and  we  drove 
to  Kilmainham  to  call  on  Lord  Seaton,  who  occupies  the 
Commander-in-Chiefs  quarters  there ;  found  him  at  home  and 
looking  surprisingly  well. 

He  asked  me  to  dine  with  him  to-day,  which  I  could  not — 
then  for  to-morrow,  which  I  accepted. 

He  begs  me  also  to  come  and  dine  with  him  every  day,  but 
I  have  little  time  to  be  in  Dublin,  if  I  want  to  see  anything 
out  of  it.  He  took  us  over  the  hospital  where  the  old 
pensioners  live.  We  went  then  to  the  Four  Courts,  this  day 
and  to-morrow  being  the  last  two  days  of  term. 

Colonel  Brown,  the  commissioner  of  the  Dublin  police, 
called  and  took  me  to  hear  the  band  of  the  7th  Dragoon 
Guards  play  in  Merrion  Square  from  four  to  six. 

...  I  saw  there,  among  many  to  whom  I  was  introduced, 
Sir  Duncan  MacGregor,  the  same  officer  who  behaved  so  nobly 
on  the  occasion  of  the  loss  of  the  Kent  East  Indiaman,  and 
wrote  so  touching  an  account  of  it. 

At  dinner  (at  the  Viceregal  Lodge)  we  had  about  twenty- 
two.  A  French  gentleman  and  lady  of  rank,  the  Marquis 
of  Drogheda,  a  large  staff,  Dr.  Todd,  librarian  of  Trinity 


xiv  DUBLIN— LORD   SEATON  385 

College,  &c.  I  sat  next  the  Lord-Lieutenant  on  his  loft,  next 
me  was  Mr.  M'Donell,  the  National  Education  Commissioner. 
He  spoke  very  highly  of  Robertson  of  the  Normal  School 
(in  Toronto).  The  Dean  of  Ardagh  took  us  in  his  carriage. 
Lord  Carlisle  was  most  attentive,  talked  to  me  of  Peter 
Reward,  whom  he  has  a  verv  kind  remembrance  of;  also  of 
Mr.  Todd,  Samuel  Jarvis,  and  the  Bishop  (Strachan). 

\%th  June. — Colonel  Brown  took  me  in  his  carriage  round 
the  town,  and  showed  us  the-  things  best  worth  seeing.  We  went 
over  all  the  apartments  in  the  Castle  and  his  police  establish- 
ment. We  visited  the  Bank  of  Ireland,  and  Dr.  Todd  took  us 
over  Trinity  College,  the  library  and  mii>eum.  Sir  Thomas 
Dean  went  over  the  new  building  with  us,  an  addition  to 
Trinity  College  which  he  is  erecting  as  architect.  He  is  the 
successful  architect  among  more  than  thirty  competitors  for 
the  new  museum  to  be  erected  at  Oxford. 

Dined  with  Lord  Seatou  at  Kilniainhain  ;  Colonel  and  Mrs. 
Wood,  his  son  Major  Colborne  and  his  wife,  Major  Hillier  and 
his  wife,  were  of  the  party.  In  the  evening  we  all  went  together 
to  a  ball  given  in  the  Rotunda  to  the  Lord-Lieutenant  by  the 
officers  of  cavalry  and  artillery. 

I  was  introduced  by  Lord  Seaton  to  Lord  Gough — a  fine- 
looking  old  soldier.  Colonel  Gordon  Higgins,  late  of  Quebec, 
was  one  of  the  stewards.  I  came  home  before  supper — about 
twelve. 

Next  day  I  went,  in  consequence  of  a  note  from  Chief- 
Justice  Lefroy,1  to  see  him  in  his  house  in  Leeson  Street  at  a 
quarter  before  eleven.  He  had  been  too  ill  to  be  in  Court  in 
term,  but  he  had  made  a  great  and  not  prudent  effort  to  come 
this  day  to  town  in  order  to  join  with  the  other  Judges  in 
disposing  of  an  important  case,  which  had  been  argued,  and 
which  it  was  of  consequence  to  have  determined  without  delay. 

I  had  barely  time  to  go  and  see  him,  for  we  were  off  at 
twelve  for  Killarney.  On  his  way  to  Court  he  drove  me  to  my 
hotel,  and  I  went  at  once  to  the  railway  station. 

1  Chief-Justice  of  the  Queen's  Bench  in  Ireland,  1HW  to  1866,  and  a 
cousin  of  Captain  (afterwards  Sir  Henry)  Lefroy.  He  died  in  1869  in  his 
94th  year. 

2B 


386    SIR  JOHN  BEVEKLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

The  Chief-Justice  has  a  very  kind  manner,  and  a  bright 
clear  eye.  It  would  have  given  me  pleasure  to  have  seen  much 
more  of  him. 

At  eight  we  reached  Killarney  and  put  up  at  an  excellent 
hotel,  erected  by  the  railway  company,  and  kept  by  a  German, 
Mr.  Schell — one-and-a-half  miles  from  the  Lake.  We  walked 
to  it  while  they  were  getting  us  supper. 

14^  June. — We  got  three  horses,  and  with  an  excellent 
guide  riding  one  of  them,  went  about  sixteen  miles  to  the 
head  of  the  Lake,  met  there  a  boat  which  two  men  had 
brought  up  for  us  (twelve  miles)  from  Killarney,  and  then 
sent  back  our  horses,  and  made  the  usual  tour  of  the  Lake. 
We  took  luncheon  with  us. 

There  are  many  scenes  of  great  beauty  in  and  around  the 
Lake,  high  mountains,  rapid  clear  streams,  romantic  little 
islands,  and  beautiful  growth  of  wood.  Innisfallen  Island, 
about  eighteen  acres,  with  the  ruins  of  an  old  monastery  upon 
it  and  adorned  with  noble  trees,  now  full  of  blossom,  was  most 
lovely.  The  chief  proprietors  of  this  beautiful  country  are 
Lord  Kenmare  and  a  Mr.  Herbert. 

In  1825  I  dined  with  the  then  Lord  Kenmare  and  Lady  K., 
sister  of  Sir  Wilmot  Horton,  at  Sir  Wilmot's  house  in  Richmond 
Terrace ;  the  only  other  guest  was  Mr.  Huskisson.  Now  that 
Lord  Kenmare  is  dead,  his  widow  is  so  inconsolable  that 
she  has  never  since  come  to  this  enchanting  spot,  which  she 
had  done  more  than  any  other  person  to  adorn,  but  lives  at 
Brussels.  The  present  Lord  Kenmare  is  brother  to  her  husband, 
and  was  so  much  attached  to  him  that  he  has  never  returned 
to  live  at  Killarney.  Poor  Huskisson  met  a  miserable  end  in 
the  Liverpool  and  Manchester  Railway.  Sir  Wilmot  Horton 
is  dead,  after  years  of  suffering,  and  half  his  family  and  more 
have  died. 

~\.5th  June. — Rose  about  five  and  drove  in  a  car  to  Muckross 
Abbey,  a  beautiful  ruin,  and  having  seen  that  and  a  waterfall 
returned,  and  at  nine  left  for  Cork  by  railway.  We  spent 
three  hours  looking  at  the  old  city,  and  at  three  embarked  on 
the  steamer  Shamrock,  which  took  us  to  Bristol  (276  miles). 


xiv  KILLARNEY— CORK  387 

Here  we  arrived  on  Saturday  evening,  Kith  June,  at  half- 
past  seven.      The   cove  of  Cork  and  the  banks  of   the   Lea 
between  it  and  the  sea  are  very  beautiful — full  of  fine 
and  richly  wooded. 

My  Irish  excursion  was  in  every  respect  a  pleasant  one, 
and  much  attention  was  proffered  to  us  if  we  could  have 
stayed. 

On  his  return  to  London  from  Bristol  on  17th 
June  he  went  with  my  mother  and  my  two  sisters 
(Mrs.  Lefroy  and  Mary)  to  Oxford,  where  he  was  to 
receive  the  honorary  degree  of  D.C.L.,  and  where 
Walter  Merry1  had  taken  rooms  for  them  at  the 
King's  Arms,  Oxford  (near  the  Hadcliffe  Library). 

Journal  continued. 

I2()th  June. — Breakfasted  with  Dr.  Jeune,  Master  of  Pem- 
broke College. 

Sir  William  Heathcote  and  Mr.  Gladstone,  the  two  members 
for  the  University,  were  there  ;  also  Sir  \V.  Gore  C)  mint 

Montalembert,  the  Bishop  of  Lincoln  and  his  wife,  Mr.  Monck- 
ton  Milnes,  and  some  five  or  six  others. 

We  breakfasted  at  nine,  and  at  a  quarter-past  ten  I  went 
to  my  inn  to  get  my  doctor's  hat  and  gown,  and  go  to  the 
Vice-Chancellor's  (Dr.  Cotton,  Master  of  Worcester  College), 
where  we,  i.e.  those  who  were  to  take  honorary  degrees,  were 
all  to  assemble  at  half-past  ten,  and  go  from  thence  in  proces- 
sion to  the  theatre,  nearly  half  a  mile. 

Sir  John  Burgoyne2  was  staving  at  our  inn,  and  we  went 
together.  The  Warden  of  New  College  had  lent  me  a  doctor's 
gown  and  cap,  which  had  belonged  to  his  brother,  and  we 
assembled,  including  Lord  Derby  the  Chancellor,  and  at  half- 

1  Now  the  Rev.  Walter  Merry,  rector  of  Lincoln  College  and  public 
orator,  a  grandson  of  William  Merry,  who  married   Kli/.abeth   Walker, 
sister  of  my  mother's  father. 

2  Afterwards  Field-Marshal  Sir  John  Burgoyne,  Inspector-General  of 
Fortifications,  and   distinguished  in  the  Peninsular  and  Crimean  Wars. 
Constable  of  the  Tower,  1865. 


388    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

past  ten  walked  in  red  gowns  and  caps,  the  latter  like  old 
Spanish  hats. 

There  were  seventeen  to  be  doctors,  and  we  were  arranged 
as  follows  : — 

The  Honourable  James  Buchanan,  American  Minister. 

Le  Comte  de  Montalembert. 

Sir  John  Beverley  Robinson. 

Lieut.-General  Sir  John  Fox  Burgoyne. 

Lieut.-General  Sir  de  Lacy  Evans. 

Sir  William  Gore  Ouseley. 

Sir  Charles  Lyell  Knight,  F.R.S. 

Richard  Monckton  Milnes,  Esq.,  M.P. 

Colonel  Sabine,  F.R.S. 

Thomas  Graham,  Esq.,  F.R.S. 

The  Rev.  Humphrey  Lloyd,  D.D. 

Philip  Bury  Duncan,  Esq.,  M.A. 

The  Rev.  Frederick  William  Hope,  F.R.S. 

Alfred  Tennyson,  Esq.,  Poet  Laureate. 

George  Gabriel  Stokes,  M.A.,  F.R.S. 

John  Couch  Adams,  M.A.,  F.R.S. 

John  Muir,  Esq. 

We  walked,  two  and  two,  General  Burgoyne  and  I  together. 
We  were  called,  and  the  degrees  conferred  in  the  order  in 
which  I  have  given  the  names. 

Buchanan  is  a  tall,  singular-looking  man.  Count  de  Monta- 
lembert a  jolly,  good-tempered-looking  person.  Burgoyne  and 
Evans  well  decked  with  medals,  the  former  a  weather-beaten 
old  soldier ;  Evans  taller,  but  seeming  to  be  much  shaken. 

When  all  was  ended  we  went  and  took  luncheon  with  tl 
Vice-Chancellor  at  Worcester  College ;  Lord  Derby  was  then 
Then  we  went  in  procession  to  see  the  corner-stone  of  the  nei 
museum  laid  at  three  P.M.     Lord  Derby  laid  it,  and  made 
good  speech.     Prayers  were  read  by  the  Vice-Chancellor,  and  a 
hymn  and  "  God  save  the  Queen  "  was  sung  by  the  thousands 
assembled. 

At  five,  Emma,  I,  and  Mary  and  all  our  party  dined,  as 
guests  of  the  Warden  of  New  College,  in  the  college  hall. 
Many  ladies. 


xiv  OXFORD—  MADE   D.C.L.  389 


June.  —  We  returned  to  town,  beit: 
to  dinner,  or  we  should  have  probably  stayed  over  that  day 
and  seen  more  of  the  colleges,  &c. 

l£liul  June.  —  Dined  at  Baron  Parke's,  ,5(j  Park  Street;  a 
large  party.  Lord  Campbell,  C.J.,  and  his  wife  Lady  Strath- 
eden,  Sir  Roderick  1  and  Lady  Mmvhi.son,  Willcs,-  the  barrister, 
a  sharp-witted  agreeable  man,  Pemberton  Leigh,3  Sir  Henrv 
and  Lady  Holland.  I  took  in  Lady  Murdiison.  Hi-r  husband 
seems  a  frank,  agreeable  man.  I  had  a  good  deal  of  talk  with  him. 

When  lYmluTton  Leigh  was  introduced  to  me  he  said, 
"I  know  Chief-Justice  Robinson  well,  and  he  is  well  known  in 
England  by  some  admirable  judgments  which  I  have  had  the 
pleasure  of  reading,  and  which  have  been  before  the  Privy 
Council  —  very  admirable  judgments,"  £r.  I  suppose  I  should 
have  said  something  in  return,  but  I  said  nothing. 

Hoth  Lord  Campbell  and  Parke  spoke  decidedly  in  favour 
of  hearing  the  evidence  of  parties  in  a  suit.  They  said  it  made 
the  trials  much  longer,  but  that  that  evil  was  lessened  by  the 
parties  being  treated  more  like  other  witnesses,  and  not  suffered 
to  go  upon  all  occasions  into  a  tedious  rigmarole  about  them- 
selves and  their  affairs,  unconnected  with  the  cau-e.  It  also, 
they  said,  undoubtedly  gave  rise  to  much  perjury;  but  on  the 
other  hand,  the  ends  of  justice  were  better  attained  in  general, 
and  the  jury  could  dispose  more  satisfactorily  of  the  case  after 
iring  what  each  party  had  to  say  on  his  own  side.  .  .  . 

Baron  Parke  has  the  true  spirit  of  a  valuable  public-  servant 
in  him.  He  fairly  admits  that  late  changes  (and  they  are  just 
now  talking  of  adding  another  circuit)  have  added  immensely 
to  the  labours  of  the  Judges,  requiring  usually  three  or  four 
hours'1  dailv  attendance  at  chambers;  but  in  the  same  breath 
he  said,  "There  is  no  doubt  it's  better;  these  things  can  be 
best  done  in  chambers.11 

1  Sir  Roderick  Murchison,  geologist,  knighted  1846,  created  baronet 
I860. 

Probably  the  future  Sir  Janie-  Slum  Willos.  who  became  a  Judge  in 
the  Court  of  Common  Pleas  shortly  after  this  (3rd  July  18oo),  and  died 
in  1871'. 

3  Afterwards  Lord  Kingsdown.  Raised  to  the  Peerage  1858.  See 
page  326. 


390    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Baron  Parke  told  me  one  day  that  Willes  was  the  best 
lawyer  he  had  known  practising  at  the  Bar,  and,  he  said,  "  I 
can  speak  for  fifty  years." 

Here  the  journal  ends;  but  shortly  after  this, 
during  the  month  of  July,  my  father  went  to  the 
Isle  of  Wight,  and  thence,  with  Walter  Merry,  to 
Guernsey. 

Here  he  spent  a  few  days  only,  but  was  much 
interested  in  what  he  saw  of  the  island,  where  many 
relations  and  connections  of  his  old  chief,  in  the  war 
of  1812-15,  Sir  Isaac  Brock,  lived.  While  there  he 
dined  with  the  then  Bailiff  of  Guernsey,  Sir  Peter 
Stafford  Carey,  and  with  Mr.  Henry  Tupper  of  Les 
C6tils,  and  met  many  people  whom  he  was  glad  to 
see. 

In  August  1855  he  returned  to  Canada,  and  Sir 
Francis  Head  writes  to  him  on  3rd  August : — 

I  cannot  allow  you  and  Lady  R.  and  dear  little  Mary  to 
leave  good  old  England  without  writing  one  line.  I  shall  often 
think  of  the  few  hours  you  spent  here.  I  think  we  conversed 
together  for  one  whole  day,  without  much  more  intermission 
than  the  engine  on  the  L.  and  N.-W.  Railway  wants  to  take  in 
coke  and  water. 

Apparently  my  father  and  Sir  Francis  met  (for 
the  last  time)  at  one  of  the  stations  on  the  London 
and  North- Western  Railway  on  the  former's  way  to 
Liverpool,  for  the  latter  writes  from  Oxenden,  October 
26,  1855  :- 

Lady  Head  and  I  were  glad  to  learn,  from  the  kind  note 
written  by  you  as  soon  as  you  reached  the  new  side  of  the 
Atlantic,  that  you  had  safely  crossed  that  pool  which  has  so 
often  been  no  respecter  of  persons. 


xiv      RETURN  TO  CANADA      391 

We  often  talk  of  our  farewell  in  the  great  hall  of  the 
London  and  North- Western  station,  and  feel  gratified  at  the 
feelings  which  brought  you  all  thi-iv. 

I  have  a  very  lively  recollection  of  your  house  at  Toronto, 
and  as  my  thoughts  often  hover  over  it,  I  think  it  not  im- 
possible that  you  and  Lady  Robinson,  if  you  will  but  listen 
attentively  enough,  may  occasionally  hear  my  k>  spirit  "  nipping1 
on  the  shingles  that  cover  your  roof. 

They  kept  up  their  correspondence  until  my 
father's  death,  and  in  the  last  of  Sir  Francis's  letters, 
September  17,  ltf(i*J,  he  mentions  the  serious  illness 
of  Lord  Scaton,  who  died  not  very  long  after,  in 
April  1863. 


1  At  this  time  "spirit-rapping"  was  attracting  some  attention,  especi- 
ally in  the  Wi'<ti«ni  world. 


CHAPTER  XV 

CLOSING  YEARS— BECOMES  PRESIDENT  COURT  OF 
ERROR  AND  APPEAL 

1856  to  1863 

Visit  of  the  Prince  of  Wales  (now  Kin£  Edward  VII.)  to  Canada- 
Deputed  by  the  Survivors  of  the  War  of  1812-15  to  present  him  with 
Address — Partial  failure  of  health  ;  applies  for  relief  from  duties  of 
Chief -Justice — Letter  from  Sir  E.  Head — Retires  from  Court  of 
Queen's  Bench  and  becomes  President  Court  of  Error  and  Appeal — 
Address  by  members  of  the  Bar — Farewell  Banquet — The  Globe  as  to 
him — Reply  to  Address  of  Law  Society — Last  illness  :  death  and 
funeral — Personal  characteristics,  &c. 

To  the  occurrences  of  the  years  1856-59  I  need  make 
no  special  allusion. 

In  1860  the  Prince  of  Wales,  now  King  Edward 
VII.,  visited  Canada,  and  my  father  was  deputed  by 
the  survivors  of  the  war  of  1812-15  to  draft,  and 
present  him  with,  an  address. 

Thus  it  became  one  of  his  last  acts,  while  Chief- 
Justice,  to  welcome  to  the  Upper  Province,  on  behalf 
of  his  old  comrades  in  its  defence  in  1812-15,  the 
heir  to  the  throne,  and  after  doing  so  he  added — 

.  .  .  We  rejoice  in  the  thought  that  what  your  Royal 
Highness  has  seen,  and  will  see,  of  this  prosperous  and  happy 
province  will  enable  you  to  judge  how  valuable  a  possession 
was  saved  to  the  British  Crown  by  the  successful  resistance 
made  in  the  trying  contest  in  which  it  was  our  fortune  to  bear 
a  part ;  and  your  Royal  Highness  will  then  be  also  able  to 
judge  how  large  a  debt  the  Empire  owes  to  the  lamented  hero 
Brock,  whose  gallant  and  generous  heart  shrank  not  in  the 
darkest  hour  of  the  conflict  from  the  most  discouraging  odds, 
and  whose  example  inspired  the  few  with  the  ability  and  spirit 
to  do  the  work  of  many. 


392 


xv    PRINCE  OF  WALES  IN  CANADA     393 

We  pray  that  God  may  bless  your  Royal  Highness  with 
many  years  of  health  and  happiness,  and  may  lead  von.  bv  His 
providence,  to  walk  in  the  paths  of  our  revered  and  beloved 
Queen,  to  whom  the  world  looks  up  as  an  illustrious  example 
of  all  the  virtues  that  can  dignify  the  highe*t  rank,  support 
worthily  the  responsibilities  of  the  most  anxious  station,  and 
promote  the  peace,  security,  and  happiness  of  private  life. 

By  this  time  he  had  become  a  rather  serious 
sufferer  from  attacks  of  gout,  partly  hereditary,  his 
father  having  died  from  it  when  under  forty  years  of 
age.  but  aggravated  by  low  ness  of  system,  brought 
on  probably  in  great  measure  from  too  sedentary  a 
life,  and  unremitting  work  at  his  dr-k. 

The  nature  of  his  duties,  and  bis  anxiety  to  keep 
the  business  of  the  Court  from  falling  into  arrear, 
confined  him  too  constantly  to  his  library,  and  for 
some  time  past  he  had  been  unable  to  take  the  exer- 
cise which  the  medical  men  had  repeatedly  urged 
upon  him  as  necessary  to  his  health. 

Feeling  that  he  was  becoming  no  longer  equal  to 
the  severe  strain  of  his  work  as  Chief-Justice,  he 
wrote,  on  the  16th  March  1861,  to  Sir  Edmund  Head, 
rovernor-General  of  Canada,  hoping  that  after  thirty - 
ro  years  upon  the  Bench  it  would  not  be  thought 
unreasonable  that  he  "  should  desire  some  relief  from 
the  incessant  labour  by  which  the  business  of  the  Court 
had  been  kept  from  falling  into  arrear,"  and  trusting 
that,  by  an  arrangement  then  in  contemplation,  his 
duties  might  be  confined  to  the  Court  of  Appeal. 

In  reply  Sir  Edmund  wrote  to  him  privately  on 
the  same  day  :— 

I  have  conferred  with  the  Attorney-General  for  Upper 
Canada,  and  what  he  says  has  strengthened  my  own  opinion 


394    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

that  your  resignation  as  Chief-Justice  at  this  moment  would  be 
embarrassing  and  inexpedient. 

I  am  convinced  that  there  would  be  great  difficulties  in 
filling  your  place  .  .  . 

May  I  venture  to  return  your  official  letter  ?  I  do  so  with 
the  sincere  hope  that  you  will  consent  to  forego  what  I  know 
you  much  desire,  and  thus  make  a  sacrifice  which,  after  so  many 
years  devoted  to  the  public  service,  I  have  scarcely  a  right  to 
ask  at  your  hands. 

In  consequence  of  this  his  retirement  from  the 
Bench  was  for  a  time  postponed ;  in  May  he  had  a 
serious  attack  of  illness,  and  my  mother  referring  to 
this  writes  to  Colonel  Lefroy  in  England  : — 

May  16,  1861. 

For  the  last  fortnight  he  has  neither  taken  book  nor  pen 
in  his  hand.  His  sudden  attack  was  a  violent  one,  but,  thank 
God,  he  is  rallying  from  it. 

He  had  been  holding  the  assizes  in  Toronto  for  four  weeks, 
steadily  on  the  Bench  from  half-past  nine  A.M.  to  seven  as  the 
common  hour,  but  varying,  according  to  the  business  of  the 
Court,  to  9,  10,  11,  and  1. 

You  know  it  is  not  his  habit  to  complain  of  work  that  has 
to  be  done,  and  we  noticed  only  an  unusual  and  constant 
pallor.  Our  spring  has  been  exceedingly  cold,  and  owing  to 
some  unlucky  hindrance  (smoke  it  was  said)  no  fire  could  be 
made  either  in  the  Court  House  or  the  Judge's  room.  Of  this 
discomfort  he  constantly  spoke,  and  seemed  often  chilled 
through.  The  last  evening  of  the  assizes  a  shivering  fit  came 
on,  with  violent  pain  in  the  limbs  like  cramp.  He  was  brought 
home  in  a  carriage,  and  from  that  time,  for  seven  days,  thei 
was  an  entire  prostration  of  body  and  thought — scarcely 
power  of  utterance  it  appeared,  or  too  great  a  disinclination 
attempt  it.  His  system  had  evidently  received  a  severe  shock. 

Shortly  afterwards,  on  1st  June  1861,  an  Ac1 
having  been  in  the  meantime  passed  authorising  the 
appointment  of  any  retired  Judge  of  the  Superic 


xv    PRESIDENT   COURT   OF    APPEAL 

Courts  of  Upper  Canada  to  be  Presiding  .In dire  of 
the  Court  of  Error  and  Appeal,  he  renewed  his  appli- 
cation to  resign  the  Chief-Justiceship,  writing  officially 
to  the  late  Sir  John  A.  Macclonald,  then  Atton 
(General  of  Upper  Canada  : 

An  illness  which  I  have  hud  lately  mak<->  UK-  feel  more 
strongly  the  necessity  of  retiring  from  my  judicial  labours, 
either  altogether  or  to  such  an  extent  as  will  enable  me  in 
future  to  have  that  occasional  relaxation  which  I  much  need. 

er  this  conviction,  I  beg  you  will  make  known  to  his 
Excellency  the  Governor-General  my  wish  to  retire  from  the 
office  of  Chief-Justice  either  now  or  at  anv  time  before  the  next 
circuit,  which  will  begin  about  the  end  of  September  next. 

I  desire,  however,  to  take  no  step  in  this  matter  which 
does  not  meet  with  the  entire  concurrence  of  his  Excellency. 

It  was  not  though  until  the  15th  of  March  1862 
that  his  retirement  was  finally  carried  out,  and  he 
was  appointed  President  of  the  Court  of  Error  and 
Appeal. 

Upon  the  close  of  his  connection  with  the  Court  of 
Queen's  Bench,  addresses,  expressive  of  their  regret, 
were  presented  to  him  by  the  members  of  the  Bar 
and  the  members  and  students  of  the  Law  Society, 
and  he  was  invited  by  the  Bar  to  a  farewell  banquet 
in  Toronto.  From  the  address  which  its  members 
presented  to  him  I  quote  the  following  extract : — 

We  use  no  language  and  offer  no  words  of  idle  HatUry. 
but  with  candour  and  pure  sincerity,  we  hesitate  not  to  say 
that  by  your  zeal,  indefatigable  talents  of  the  rarest  and 
highest  order,  power  of  perception  unequalled,  patience,  affa- 
bility of  manner,  and  a  constant  desire  and  anxiety  to  ad- 
minister justice  in  its  purity,  you  have  never  tailed  to  inspire 
confidence,  alike  in  the  profession  and  the  suitor,  which  will 


396    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

ever  be  held  dear  in  their  memories,  and  have  justly  earned  you 
an  everlasting  reputation  as  a  jurist. 

At  this  farewell  banquet  Mr.  Henry  Eccles,  Q.C., 
treasurer  of  the  Law  Society,  presided.  It  was  held 
in  June  1862  in  the  library  of  Osgoode  Hall,  and 
there  were  some  200  present,  including  many  guests 
of  the  clergy  and  military. 

In  referring  to  it  the  Globe  newspaper  of  Toronto, 
though  it  represented  the  political  party  to  which  my 
father  had  been  opposed  during  his  parliamentary  life, 
made  this  generous  allusion  to  him  : — 

We  are  not  of  the  school  of  politics  to  which  Sir  John 
Robinson  belonged,  and  were  he  in  public  life  now,  it  is  certain 
that  we  should  differ  widely  from  his  views. 

But  that  ought  not,  and  shall  not,  prevent  us  paying  a 
tribute  of  praise  to  a  well-spent  and  honoured  life.  .  .  . 
Doubtless  he  was  often  in  the  wrong.  Who  has  not  been 
proved  by  time  to  be  in  the  wrong  ?  But  no  one  will  deny  to 
him  the  credit  of  being  perfectly  sincere  and  honest  in  his 
convictions,  and  having  laboured  for  them  with  conscientious 
zeal  and  assiduity. 

In  reference  to  one  part  of  his  public  career  no  limit  need 
be  placed  on  our  praises.  He  was  a  strong  friend  of  British 
connection,  and  defended  this  outpost  of  England  with  a 
courage  which  knew  no  difficulty. 

As  the  acknowledged  head  of  society  in  this  province,  Sir 
John  Robinson  has  exercised  as  great  an  influence  as  in  his 
political  sphere,  and  has  used  it  in  an  eminently  beneficial 
manner. 

In  his  own  personal  habits  temperate,  frugal,  chaste,  and 
dignified,  liberal  in  his  hospitality,  a  friend  of  morality,  and 
an  enemy  of  excess,  there  can  be  no  question  that  his  example 
has  had  a  powerful  influence  on  social  habits,  not  only  in  this 
city,  but  throughout  the  whole  province. 

As  subject,  parent,  and  member  of  society,  he  stands  before 
his  countrymen  "  sans  peur  et  sans  reproche,"  worthy  of  the 


xv         BANQUET   AND   ADDRESSES        597 

honours   bestowed    upon    him    by    his    Sovereign,  and    of   the 
esteem  and  respect  of  his  fellow-citi/ens. 

The  following  formed  the  concluding  paragraph 
of  my  father's  reply  to  the  address  of  the  members  of 
the  Law  Society  :— 

Leaving  a  Court  in  which  the  whole  of  the  active  part  of 
my  life  has  been  passed  could  not  fail  to  be  attended  with  a 
painful  feeling  of  regret,  for  I  may  say  that,  out  of  my  family 
circle,  it  has  constituted  mv  home.  The  duties  which  it  will 
give  me  pleasure  to  continue  to  discharge  in  the  Court  of  Krror 
anil  Appeal  will  associate  me  as  in  time  past  with  my  brothers 
of  the  Bench  and  of  the  Bar,  so  long  as  I  may  be  blessed  with 
health  sufficient  for  their  performance.  And  may  God  grant 
that  we  all  may  bear  in  mind  the  account  which  we  must  one 
day  render  of  the  time  and  talents  committed  to  our  charge. 

Although  the  serious  words  which  conclude  this 
reply  might  have  been  spoken  by  my  father  solely 
under  the  influence  of  that  feeling  which  all  thought- 
ful men  must  experience  when  they  lay  down  their 
more  active  work,  after  attaining  the  1'salmist's  limit 
of  man's  years,  still  it  is  probable  that,  when  he  uttered 
them,  he  was  conscious,  from  a  sense  of  failing 
strength,  that  his  own  days  would  not  be  long  prolonged. 

He  had  never  been  forgetful  of  the  end  of  life ; 
and  the  following  lines,  preserved  by  my  mother, 
and  understood  to  be  his  own,  may  be  taken  to 
express  the  feelings  of  his  heart : — 

For  me,  I  have  no  mortal  fear 

No  tremblings  as  I  hurry  down  ; 
The  way  is  clear,  the  end  is  near, 

The  goal,  the  glory,  and  the  crown. 
Then  shed  no  bitter  tears  for  me 

As  ye  consign  me  to  the  dust ; 
Rather  rejoice  that  I  shall  be 

With  God,  my  strength  and  trust. 


398    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

In  the  early  autumn  of  1862  he  had  a  severe 
attack  of  gout,  which  would  not  yield  to  treatment, 
and  which  he  never  entirely  shook  off;  and  though 
he  continued  to  do  his  work,  it  became  difficult  for 
him  to  move  about. 

On  10th  October,  the  sister  of  Sir  Allan  MacNab 
writes  to  him  :-— 

Hearing  from  my  brother  John,  who  returned  from  Toronto 
this  morning,  that  you  were  suffering  from  an  attack  of  gout, 
reminded  me  of  a  wish  expressed  to  me  long  ago  by  my  dear 
brother  Sir  Allan,  that,  should  you  survive  him,  I  would  send 
you  his  crutches.1  In  complying  with  his  request,  I  regret 
extremely  that  you  should  be  suffering  so  much  as  to  necessi- 
tate the  use  of  them. 

And  my  father,  in  thanking  her  for  her  letter, 
says  :— 

I  am  undergoing  a  tedious,  but  not  very  painful  attack  of 
gout,  and  at  the  end  of  ten  weeks  cannot  make  any  use  of  my 
right  foot,  but  there  are  some  signs  of  amendment,  though  the 
only  favourable  symptom  is  increased  pain. 

At  intervals  there  was  some  slight  improvement, 
and  early  in  January  1863  he  was  able — though  the 
effort  he  made  to  do  it  was  imprudent — to  preside 
in  the  Court  of  Appeal. 

On  the  14th,  after  working  for  many  hours  upon 
his  Judgments  in  some  special  cases,  he  was  seized 
with  an  attack  of  severe  pain,  accompanied  by  great 
debility,  and  never,  I  think,  subsequently  left  his 
room. 

By  the  28th  there  was  so  marked  a  failure  of  vital 
power  that  the  medical  men  attending  him 2  had 

1  These  he  afterwards  constantly  used. 

2  Drs.  Hodder,  Bovell,  and  Small. 


xv  LAST    ILLNESS— DEATH 

little  hope  that  his  constitution  would  enable  him 
to  rally. 

That  afternoon  Bishop  Strachan  and  Dr.  Cir,-i 
Rector  of  St.  James'  Church,  administered  the  sacra- 
ment to  him,  when  he  was  able  to  join  with  them 
in  the  service.  Upon  his  deathbed  he  repeated  at 
intervals  many  passages  from  Pope's  "  LTnivcrsal 
Prayer,"  which  had  always  been  a  favourite  of  his, 
and  on  the  31st  January,  at  a  little  before  nine  in 
the  morning,  he  passed  painlessly  and  peacefully  to 
rest,  relief  from  all  suffering  having  been  mercifully 
granted  to  him  shortly  before  the  close. 

His  was  a  bright  morning,  and,  after  the  inevitable  storms 
and  troubles  of  the  day,  a  serene  and  unclouded  evening — 
harbinger,  let  us  believe,  of  the  peace  which  in  the  kingdom  of 
glory  shall  be  perpetual  and  unbroken.1 

All  the  members  of  his  family  were  with  him 
during  his  last  illness.  My  sister  Mary  was  at  the 
time  engaged  to  Donald  Maclnnes,  of  Dundurn, 
Hamilton,  Canada,  and  their  marriage  took  place 
quietly  a  few  weeks  later  (April  30,  18« 

I  may  add  that  my  mother's  health  began  to 
give  way  soon  afterwards.  She  died  on  27th  May 
1865,  and  was  laid  to  rest  beside  him.  My  father's 
sisters  also — Mrs.  Heward  and  Mrs.  Boulton — both 
followed  him  to  the  grave  in  the  year  of  his  own 
death  (1863). 

Resolutions  expressive  of  regret  at  my  father's 
loss,  and  sympathy  and  condolence  with  his  family. 
were  passed  by  the  members  of  the  Bar,  the  members 
and  students  of  the  Law  Society,  the  Corporation 

1  Address  of  Bishop  Bethune  to  the  students  of  Trinity  College,  allud- 
ing to  my  father. 


400    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON     CH. 

of  Trinity  College,  the  Mayor  and  Corporation  of 
Toronto,  the  Canadian  Institute,  the  Church  Society, 
and  other  public  bodies. 

At  the  request  of  the  Law  Society,  and  of  many 
of  the  citizens  of  Toronto,  the  funeral  was  made  a 
public  one,  and  took  place  on  Wednesday  afternoon 
the  4th  February  1863,  amid  every  expression  of 
general  sorrow. 

He  was  buried  in  St.  James'  Cemetery,  near  the 
beautifully  wooded  deep  ravine  beyond  which,  in 
1794,  "Castle  Frank"  stood. 

The  family  vault  in  which  my  father  lies  was  a 
gift  from  Bishop  Strachan,  who  in  a  note  to  him 
of  23rd  July  1848,  says  :— 

I  have  caused  a  tomb,  containing  two  vaults,  to  be  erected 
in  the  ground  I  purchased  in  the  cemetery.  ...  As  there  is, 
in  fact,  no  choice  between  the  two,  I  have  assigned  the  west  to 
you,  and  the  east  to  myself. 

And  he  hopes  that  he  will  feel  no  reluctance  to  accept 
this  gift. 

When  Bishop  Strachan  died  in  1867,  it  was  most 
properly  decided  that  he  should  be  interred  under 
the  chancel  of  that  cathedral  with  which  he  had  been 
so  closely  associated,  but  I  give  the  above  note,  as 
there  is  something  touching  in  it.  It  shows  his 
attachment  to  my  father,  and  that  the  thought  was 
at  one  time  in  his  mind  that  after  this  life  they 
should  rest  near  each  other. 

At  the  installation  of  the  Hon.  John  Hillyard 
Cameron  to  succeed  my  father  as  chancellor  of  Trinity 
College,  the  Rev.  Provost  Whitaker  said : — 

Our  College  and  University  has  lost  in  Sir  John  Robinson 
one  of  its  wisest  counsellors,  one  of  its  steadiest  friends ;  a  man 


xv     FUNERAL— OBITUARY  NOTICES     401 

who  never  swerved  for  a  moment  from  the  course  which  he  felt  to 
be  right,  because  that  course  might  seem  to  involve  unpopularity, 
or  a  sacrifice  of  material  interests  ;  who  had  embraced  exalted 
principles  of  action,  and  firmly  adhered  to  those  principles. 

We  have  lost  one  who  gave  most  patient  attention  to  any 
subject  on  which  his  counsel  was  sought,  bestowing  on  it  indeed 
what  others  might  esteem,  in  regard  either  to  its  absolute  or 
relative  importance,  undue  thought  and  labour.  We  have 
lost  one  whose  equable  temper,  whose  cheerful  urbanity  made 
it  at  all  times  a  pleasure  to  hold  communication  with  him. 

I  must  be  permitted  to  add  that  I  believe  any  { 
coming  from  the  old  country  must  have  been  struck  by  the 
faithfulness  with  which  he  presented  amongst  us  the  type  of 
an  English  gentleman,  not  only  in  respect  of  the  more  im- 
portant points  of  moral  principle  and  feeling,  but  also  in 
respect  of  the  minor  gracr>  of  demeanour,  those  small  details 
of  conduct  which  scarcely  admit  of  being  particularised,  but 
which  collectively  impart  an  inexpressible  beauty  to  the  life, 
and  do  assuredly  indicate  that  a  man  has  k-anieil,  by  a  delicate 
spiritual  perception,  to  recognise  what  is  due,  before  God,  to 
his  neighbour  and  to  himself. 

And  Mr.  Cameron,  referring  to  what  had  been 
said  above,  added  :— 

You  have  well  depicted  the  character  of  the  late  chancellor. 

In  every  relation  of  life  he  stood  pre-eminent,  and  to  those 
who  like  myself,  for  upwards  of  twenty  years,  have  enjoyed 
the  privilege  of  close  communion  with  him  as  their  chief, 
there  is  no  power  in  language  to  portray  their  high  estimate 
of  his  ability. 

His  sweetness  of  temper,  his  gentleness  of  manner,  hib 
courtesy,  were  proverbial,  and  in  the  long  roll  on  which  this 
University  shall  write  the  names  of  her  future  chancellors,  no 
name  will  ever  be  found  of  brighter  lustre  than  the  first. 

I  have  inserted  in  the  Appendix,  more  for  family 
than  general  information,  an  account  of  my  father  s 

2c 


402     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

funeral,  and  some  obituary  notices  which  appeared 
in  the  press  ; 1  also  the  inscriptions  on  tablets  which, 
together  with  a  memorial  window  to  him,  have  been 
placed  to  his  memory  and  that  of  other  members  of 
his  family  in  the  chancel  of  St.  James'  Cathedral, 
Toronto. 


1  Appendix  B.,  vi.  Omitting  details  of  appointments  and  service, 
&c.,  which  have  been  mentioned  in  the  preceding  pages,  I  have  given  full 
extracts  from  these  notices  in  the  press.  Coming  as  they  did  from  all 
parts  of  the  country,  and  appearing  in  journals  representing  different 
shades  of  politics,  they  show  the  general  estimation  in  which  my  father 
was  held  in  Canada,  and  will  be  of  interest  to  his  descendants. 


CHAPTER    XVI 

CONCLUSION—  PERSONAL   CHARACTERISTICS,   ETC. 


of  my  father's  private  life,  and  some  of  his 
personal  characteristics,  the  I  MIC  Journal  of  Upper 
Canada,  of  March  ISC.;},  says  :— 

Sir  John  Robinson's  .social  life  exercised  a  great  influence 
on  the  nuis.so.  His  private  life  gained  for  him,  if  possible, 
more  thoroughly  the  affections  of  the  people  than  even  his 
public  services.  He  was  emphatically  a  good  man,  and  a 
God-fearing  Christian.  He  had  none  of  those  peculiarities 
or  eccentricities  which  frequently  characterise  the  dispositions 
of  great  men.  His  manners  and  tastes  were  simple  and  un- 
affected. His  conversation  was  varied  with  livelv  illustrations 
of  wit  and  humour.  Generously  hospitable,  none  enjoyed 
sociability  more  than  Sir  John.  His  hand  was  at  all  times 
open  to  relieve  any  urgent  case  of  suffering  or  necessity.  His 
genuine  kind-heartedness,  and  his  downright  honesty  of  purpose, 
made  him  the  idol  of  society,  and  the  valued  companion  of  all 
who  were  honoured  by  his  friendship. 

He  was  gifted  with  remarkable  accuracy  and  strength  of 
memory,  and  from  all  parts  of  the  country  he  was  frequently 
appealed  to  to  explain  the  relationship  of  present  affairs 
with  the  distant  past. 

And  in  alluding  to  the  purity  of  style  of  some  of 
his  addresses  upon  public  occasions,  it  instances  the 
one  delivered  at  the  laying  the  foundation-stone  of 
the  Provincial  Lunatic  Asylum  in  Toronto  in  184<i. 
I  therefore  give  here  a  few  extracts  from  this  addros. 
which  was  of  some  length  :— 


403 


404    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

Let  us  consider  who  are  the  insane  ?  Here  we  see  one  who 
for  some  inscrutable  purpose  of  Providence,  doubtless  wise  and 
just  as  we  shall  know  hereafter,  has  in  his  blood  or  in  his  brain 
(for  who  can  solve  the  mystery  ?)  the  seeds  of  hereditary 
insanity.  There  another  who  has  lost  his  reason  by  chaining 
down  his  mind  to  the  abstract  problems  of  mathematical 
science,  or  perplexing  himself  amidst  the  combinations  of 
mechanical  powers,  or  with  the  boundless  infinity  of  astro- 
nomical calculations. 

Who  can  have  a  claim  to  sympathy  if  these  have  not? 
It  is  to  such  ardent  minds  that  we  owe  in  a  great  measure 
the  elevation  of  our  race.  Forgetting  that  they  had  their 
"  treasure  in  earthen  vessels," l  they  allowed  themselves  to  be 
nobly  reckless  in  the  pursuit  of  science,  not  heeding  the  great 
truth  that  none  of  nature's  laws  can  be  disregarded  with 
impunity. 

We  may  be  assured  that  if  it  were  given  to  us  in  such  cases 
to  look  into  the  mysteries  of  the  mental  structure  (if  I  may  be 
pardoned  the  misuse  of  the  expression)  it  would  often  be  appal- 
ling to  perceive  how  frightfully  thin  is  the  partition  which 
separates  the  noblest  flights  of  genius  and  the  grandest  specula- 
tions of  science  from  the  wild  dreams  of  the  visionary  or  the 
ravings  of  the  maniac.  Then,  again,  how  many  of  the  best 
and  purest  minds  sink  under  the  oppression  of  religious 
melancholy.  Grief,  too,  sends  its  victims — grief  for  wounded 
affections  or  ruined  fortunes — generally  the  most  overwhelming 
in  the  kindest  natures. 

And  even  with  regard  to  those  whose  intemperate  excesses 
or  perverted  passions  have  led  to  the  ruin  of  their  intellect, 
how  seldom  can  we  tell  that  if  we  knew  the  force  of  their 
temptations,  or  could  make  due  allowance  for  the  pressure  of 
adverse  circumstances,  or  the  absence  of  early  discipline,  we 
should  not  feel  them  to  be  much  more  deserving  of  compassion 
than  of  reproach  ? 

Whatever  may  be  the  cause  of  their  calamity,  it  is  a  delight- 
ful thought  that  "  when  nature  being  oppressed  commands  the 


1  2  Corinthians  iv.  7- 


xvi  PERSONAL   TRAITS  405 

mind  to  suffer  with  the  body,11  the  directors  of  this  asylum  Mill 
be  enabled,  by  the  humane  care  of  the  Government,  to  proclaim 
to  all  alike,  "What  comfort  to  this  great  decay  may  come 
shall  be  supplied." 

Nothing  can  be  conceived  more  desolate  than  their  condi- 
tion, with  all  the  alleviation  that  man  can  devise  for  it.  In 
the  expressive  language  of  Scripture,  "  Their  sun  is  gone  down 
while  it  is  yet  day.11 

Two  or  three  very  good  portraits  of  my  father 
exist.  One  is  in  the  library  of  Osgoode  Hall, 
Toronto.  It  was  taken  in  1845  by  Mr.  Berthon 
of  Toronto  "by  desire  of  the  gentlemen  of  the 
profession  of  the  Law." 

Another  is  by  George  Richmond,  R.A.,  and  is  in 
Beverley  House.  It  was  taken  in  London  in  1855, 
and  was  in  the  Royal  Academy  of  that  year. 

Another  is  a  full-length  photograph  by  Palmer 
of  Toronto,  taken  about  1860. 

I  may  add,  from  personal  recollection  of  him, 
that  in  his  reading  he  was  particularly  fond  of 
history,  biography,  and  travel.  Some  books  of 
fiction  interested  him,  but  not  many.  Pope,  Gold- 
smith, Campbell,  and  Scott  were  favourites.  Shake- 
speare he  read  frequently,  and  upon  his  circuits  he 
generally  took  with  him  either  Virgil  or  Horace. 

He  read  very  fast,  but  yet  had  a  retentive  memory 
of  all  he  read.  This  natural  gift,  and  the  exceptional 
power  he  possessed  of  concentrating  his  mind  upon 
whatever  subject  engaged  it,  and  yet  at  will  dismiss- 
ing this  from  it,  were  a  great  advantage  to  him.  They 
have  often  astonished  me.  Having  sat  deeply  ab- 
sorbed at  his  desk  upon  legal  work  from  nine  o'clock 
in  the  morning  until  six  in  the  evening,  with  but  a 


406    SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON    CH. 

short  interval,  he  would  at  dinner  converse  as  freely 
and  brightly  upon  general  subjects,  and  with  a  mind 
apparently  as  divested  of  grave  thoughts,  as  if  they 
had  never  recently  occupied  it.  The  presence  and 
conversation  of  others  in  the  room  with  him,  unless 
he  were  himself  addressed,  never  disturbed  him. 

He  very  rarely  alluded  to  local  politics,  though 
he  followed  them  with  interest.  The  reason  no 
doubt  was,  that,  having  taken  so  prominent  a  part 
in  them  for  many  years,  he  was  sensible  that  it  was 
more  becoming,  in  his  position  upon  the  Bench,  not 
to  discuss  them. 

He  was  punctual  to  a  degree,  not  an  exceptionally 
early  riser,  but  never  late  for  anything,  and  was 
naturally  active  in  his  habits.  Though  very  tem- 
perate in  his  mode  of  life,  he  was  not  ascetic  or 
extreme  in  anything. 

As  a  young  man  he  was  fond  of  riding  and 
horses.  Up  to  the  time  (1838)  when  he  had  his  first 
serious  illness,  he  rode  as  frequently  as  he  could  in 
the  evening,  and  often  with  his  wife  and  children. 

In  1828  he  writes :  "I  intend  riding  to  New- 
market in  a  few  days.1  Emma  rides  almost  every 
evening,  and  Lukin."  And  he  did  not  entirely  give 
this  up  until  about  1853,  though  latterly  he  could 
rarely  find  time  for  it. 

It  has  been  said  with  some  truth  by  Mr.  Fennings 
Taylor2  that  "he  had  the  inclinations  of  a  sports- 
man and  the  tastes  of  a  naturalist,  though  he  had 
not  the  time  to  gratify  the  one  or  cultivate  the  other." 
In  everything  connected  with  country  life  he  was 
interested,  and  nothing  gave  him  greater  pleasure 


1  Newmarket  is  over  thirty  miles  to  the  north  of  Toronto. 

2  "Portraits  of  British  Americans." 


xvi  RELKMOl'S    FEELING  407 

than  a  visit  to  one  of  his  farms,  such  as  that  at 
Bond's  Lake,  which  he  owned  for  some  time.  He 
would  walk  for  hours  over  ground  which  he  remem- 
bered as  a  boy,  and  took  a  keen  delight  in  observing 
the  changes  which  had  taken  place  in  the  course  of 
years.  His  memory  for  localities  was  unusually  good  ; 
and  in  driving  up  Yonge  Street  from  Toronto  to 
Holland  Landing,  some  forty  miles,  he  could  name 
almost  all,  if  not  all,  the  owners  of  farms  upon  each 
side  of  the  road,  and  the  different  hands  through 
which  the  land  had  passed  from  its  first  settlement. 

He  was  devoted  to  young  people  and  children. 

Of  his  attachment  to  the  Church  of  England  I 
have  said  quite  enough,  and  will  only  add  that, 
though  he  spoke  little  of  his  religious  feelings,  these 
were  very  deep  and  consistent. 

The  Bible  he  studied  constantly ;  Paley's  works 
and  Blair's,  and  other  practical  sermons,  frequently. 

Perhaps  I  may  best  convey  the  careful  manner  in 
which  he  examined  the  New  Testament  by  saying 
that  among  his  papers  is  a  long  memorandum,  cover- 
ing twenty-three  pages  of  foolscap,  in  which  all  texts 
from  Matthew  to  Ephesians  inclusive1  bearing  upon 
the  question  of  our  justification  by  "  faith "  or  by 
"works''  are  set  down,  contrasted,  and  commented  on. 

Though  there  is  no  summing  up  to  show  the 
conclusions  of  his  mind,  it  is  to  be  inferred  from  his 
comments  that  he  believed  that  a  true  faith  will 
always  be  followed  by  works. 

His  mind  was  so  constituted  that  his  thoughts 
upon  religious  subjects  and  their  bearing  upon  life 
only  added  brightness  and  happiness  to  it,  and  never 

1  The  intention  apparently  was  to  continue  it  through  the  whole  of 
the  New  Testament. 


408     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

brought  gloom  or  depression.  He  writes  to  his 
sister,  Mrs.  Boulton,  in  1839  :  "  I  never  could  under- 
stand why  religion  should  make  any  one  gloomy, 
and  I  think  that  we  ought  to  suspect  that  we  have 
a  mistaken  view  of  it  if  it  has  that  tendency  with 
ourselves." 

This  is  perhaps  well  shown  also  in  his  choice  of  the 
text  given  below,  when  he  was  twenty-five  years  of  age. 

At  this  time,  a  year  before  his  marriage,  he  was  a 
great  deal  with  Mr.  Merry's  family  in  London,  and 
it  was  suggested  by  some  of  the  latter  that  each  one 
of  the  party  should  write  a  sermon  in  turn,  and  read 
it  on  Sunday  evening. 

The  text  my  father  chose  for  his  was  the  6th 
chapter  of  Micah,  6th,  7th,  and  8th  verses,  explaining 
that  the  reason  he  selected  it  was  that  of  the  many 
summaries  of  our  duty  contained  in  the  Scriptures, 
with  the  exception  of  that  memorable  one  given  by 
our  Saviour  in  his  Sermon  upon  the  Mount,  there 
was  none  to  his  mind  so  concise  and  yet  so  compre- 
hensive, so  sublime  and  yet  so  comforting  and  simple, 
and  with  the  concluding  lines  in  such  striking  contrast 
to  the  appeal  which  led  to  it,  as  this : — 

MICAH  vi.  6,  7,  8. 

Wherewithal  shall  I  come  before  the  Lord  and  bow  myself 
before  the  High  God  ?  Shall  I  come  before  Him  with  burnt 
offerings,  with  calves  of  a  year  old  ?  Will  the  Lord  be  pleased 
with  thousands  of  rams,  or  with  ten  thousands  of  rivers  of  oil  ? 
Shall  I  give  my  first-born  for  my  transgression — the  fruit  of 
my  body  for  the  sin  of  my  soul  ? 

He  hath  showed  thee,  O  man,  what  is  good ;  and  what  doth 
the  Lord  require  of  thee,  but  to  do  justly,  and  love  mercy,  and 
to  walk  humbly  with  thy  God  ? 


APPENDIX    A 


EXTRACT  from  Act  passed  by  the  Legislature  of  the  Upper 
Province  of  Canada  on  the  14th  March  1815  : — 

"Whereas  the  glorious  and  honourable  defence  of  this 
Province  in  the  war  with  the  United  States  of  America  hath 
necessarily  called  from  their  usual  occupations  and  professions 
most  of  the  Inhabitants  of  the  Province,  and  amount  them  verv 
many  Barristers,  Students  at  Law,  Attorneys,  and  Articled  Clerks 
of  Attorneys — whereby  the  regular  meetings  of  the  Benchers  of 
the  Law  Society  of  the  said  Province  have  been,  for  many  terms 
past,  interrupted — several  young  gentlemen  have  been  pie- 
vented  from  making  due  application  for  admission  on  the 
Books  of  the  said  Society  as  Students  at  Law ;  and  several 
Students  at  Law  have  in  like  manner  been  prevented  being 
called  to  the  Bar  to  their  manifest  and  great  injury.  .  .  . 

"And  whereas  to  obviate  this  evil,  as  far  as  they  then 
could,  at  a  meeting  of  the  said  Law  Society,  held  as  of  Hilary 
Term  in  the  iifty-fifth  year  of  his  present  Majesty's  reign,  the 
Benchers  of  the  said  Law  Society  did  enter  upon  their  books 
the  names  of  several  persons  who  have  been  prevented  in 
manner  aforesaid  from  obtaining  their  due  admission  as  Stu- 
dents and  Barristers. 

"Therefore,  to  remove  all  doubts  as  to  the  legality  of  such 
entry,  it  is  enacted  that  all  names  now  entered  on  the  K 
of  the  Law  Society  as  Students  at  Law,  and  Barri  dl  be 

deemed  and  held  to  be  legally  and  regularly  entered  on  the 
said  books,  and  are  hereby  declared  to  be  Students  at  Law  and 

409 


410     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

Barristers  within  the  Province,  and  of  such  standing  as  to  time 
as  is  now  allowed  to  each  respectively  upon  the  books  of  the 
Society." 


II 

DESIGN  of  61  Gold  and  548  Silver  Medals  struck  (but  never 
issued)  for  the  Loyal  and  Patriotic  Society  of  York, 
Upper  Canada,  to  reward  merit  and  commemorate  glorious 
exploits  and  extraordinary  instances  of  courage  and  fidelity 
in  the  War  of  181 2-15. 

"  In  a  circle  formed  by  a  wreath  of  laurel,  the  words  '  For 
Merit ' — Legend,  '  Presented  by  a  grateful  country.' 

"  On  the  reverse — A  streight l  between  two  lakes.  On  the 
north  side  a  Beaver  (emblem  of  peaceful  industry),  the  ancient 
armorial  bearing  of  Canada.  In  the  background  an  English 
Lion  slumbering. 

"  On  the  south  side  of  the  streight,  the  American  Eagle 
planeing  the  air,  as  if  checked  from  seizing  the  Beaver  by  the 
presence  of  the  Lion — Legend,  '  Upper  Canada  preserved.' " 

The  medal  was  2J  inches  in  diameter. 

After  lying  for  some  years  in  the  Bank  of  Upper  Canada, 
these  medals  were,  in  the  year  1840,  sold  to  Messrs.  Charles 
Sewell  and  William  Stennett,  watchmakers  in  Toronto,  for 
<£>393,  12s.  Id.  currency. 

I  know  of  only  two  which  have  been  preserved — one  gold 
and  one  silver.  They  were  in  possession  of  the  late  Hon.  G. 
W.  Allan,  of  Moss  Park,  Toronto. 


Thus  speltj  meaning  " strait." 


APPENDIX 


411 


II, 

NAMES  OF  SUBSCRIBERS'  TO  THE  BALL  GIVEN  TO 
THE   LADIES   AND   STKAV  ;r.i:S    OF   YORK 

I  To  Celebrate  the  Capture  of  Xiu^nni   In/  xtnrm  mi  the 


December  181:1 


Shares 

Thomas  Scott  .         .  5 

Mr.  Dumr.  Powell    .         .  ,'j 

Wm.  Campbell         .         .  3 

John  Strachan          .          .  2 

W.Allan  .  « 

D.  Cameron     ...  2 

JohnM'Gill    .         .         .  i 

S.  Jarvis ....  1 

Thomas  Ridout        .         .  1 

Wm.  Jarvis      ...  1 

Mr.  Haldwin     ...  1 

guctton  St.  Geor-  .  i> 

W.  Chewett     ...  2 

John  Beikie  1 


ruikshank 
Aliens  Mackintosh 
Alexander  Wood 
Grant  Powell  . 
.1.  1  It-ward 

Alexander  Horn 

H.  C.  Hoi  iu    . 

Wm.  M.  .Jarvis 
William  Lee    . 
John  U.  Kohinson 
Mr.  Boulton     . 
Mr.  P.  Robinson 


Expense  of  the  assembly 

Each  share  =  XJ1,  16s. 


Total 

.  17s.  6d. 


.  1 

.  1 

.  1 

.  1 

.  1 

.  1 

.  1 

.  1 

.  1 

.  1 


The  bills  for  the  assemblies  at  York  in  January  181 -I 
show  that  Teneriffe  wine  and  London  market  Madeira  formed 
a  principal  part  of  the  wine  consumed ;  and  the  following 
entries  as  to  expenses  for  the  season  1814  occur: — 


Paid 

?5 
>» 
» 
?5 
» 
« 

Brown  for  <;oin«j  several  times  round 
with  subscriptions     . 
Music  for  the  season 
Charles  (a  black  man)  for  waiting     . 
Lackie,  the  baker,  for  cakes 
Female  attendants    .... 
CTKeefe,  for  use  of  room  . 
M'  In  tosh,  for  wine,  £c.     . 

1 
™ 
2 
19 
1 
28 
55 

s. 

15 
5 
7 
10 
15 
15 

& 

G 
0 
0 
6 
0 
0 
71 

i  The  names  of  some  of  the  subscribers  to  this  ball  and  to  the  assem- 
blies in  1814  given  below,  are  not  very  legibly  written  in  the  original 
manuscript,  so  possibly  may  not  be  put  down  with  perfect  correctness. 


412     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 


Colonel  Haulers  servant,  and   the  fifer  of  the 
Niagara     ....... 

Lemon,  the  violin  player  ..... 

For  the  use  of  a  violin       ..... 

Musicians  of  Canadian  Fencibles 

For  advertising  in  the  Gazette  .... 


Dollars 

6 

10 
1 

8 


NAMES   OF  SUBSCRIBERS   TO   THE   ASSEMBLIES 
AT   YORK    IN    1814 


Thomas  Scott. 
W.  Dummer  Powell. 
William  Jarvis. 
William  Allan. 
Alexander  Wood. 
William  Smith. 
Grant  Powell. 
S.  Jarvis. 

John  B.  Robinson. 
P.  Robinson. 
George  Ridout. 
George  Jarvis. 
John  Strachan. 
H.  Baldwin. 
James  Hands. 
H.  Lee. 
J.  Quesnet. 
Quetton  St.  George. 
—  Kitson,  Lt.  R.E. 
W.  Chewett. 
Al.  Thorn. 
Capt.  Lelievre. 
Sam.  P.  Jarvis. 
Wm.  M.  Jarvis. 
Tho.  Taylor. 
D.  Boulton,  Jun. 
L.   de   Koven,   Lt.    Royal 
Newfoundland  Regiment. 
Lieut.  Ingonville. 


S 

•a 
& 


William  Campbell. 

John  Beikie. 

William  Shanley. 

J.  M'Gill. 

Geo.  Cruikshank. 

Geo.  Shaw, 

Richard  Friend, 

Wm.  Faulkner, 

J.  Harford, 

H.  Lott, 

W.  T.  Hall, 

Richard  Bullock, 

Charles  Lane, 

H.  D.  Townshend, 

Geo.  Edge, 

James  D.  Perrin, 

Alex.  Major, 

Dl.  Cameron. 

Tho.  Ridout. 

Angus  Mackintosh. 

J.  He  ward. 

N.  Home. 

Major  Givens. 

Mr.  Davenport,  Royal  Navy. 

Lieut.  Ryerson,  Incorp.  Militia. 
„      Hamilton,  „ 

„      Ruttan,  „ 

„      Kirby,  „ 

John  Douglas,  8th  Regt. 


APPENDIX 


R.  Stanton. 

Richard  Shaw. 

Q.-Mr.  Troughton,  Lt.  R.A. 

James  Macaulay. 

William  M'Aulay. 

Colonel  Maule. 

Mr.  Kemble. 

Mr.  Miles,  89th  Regiment. 

Mr.  Gossett,  Engineers. 

Major  Walmsley,  82nd 
Regiment. 

Ed.  Davis,  Lt.  82  Regi- 
ment. 

Mr.  Wills,  Royal  Marines. 

Mr.  Pearson,  Royal  Navy. 

Captain  Barclay. 

Mr.  Cruikshank. 

Colonel  Glen, Incorp.  Militia. 

Lt.  Tomkins,  11. A. 

Major  Kirby. 

Mr.  Archdeacon. 

Major  de  Haren. 

Mr!  Wall,  Fort  Adjt. 

Mr.  Jackson,  Q.M.G. 

Lt.  Jarvie,  Incorp.  Militia. 


Dr.  O'LiMry.  Medical  Staff. 
xth 

„    White, 

„   Ward, 

„    Robertson,        „ 

„   Lee, 

„    Palmer, 
Mr.  Irwin. 

Mr.  M'Dougal,  Incorp.  Militia. 
(Ki<;ht  officers,   Canadian 

cibles,  for  one  night.) 
Lt.  M'Dougall. 
Dr.  Young. 
Mrs.  Dercm/v. 
Mrs.  Tallow. 
Mrs.  .lanowav. 
Daniel  Claus. 
Mrs.  Geale. 
Mr.  Rolph. 
Mrs.  Wallin. 
Captain  Walker. 
Captain  Eraser. 
Captain  M'Donell. 
Captain  Kerr. 
Ens.  Warffe. 


Evidently  several  of  those  whose  names  are  given  above 
subscribed  for  themselves  and  their  families,  so  that  a  good 
number  must  often  have  been  got  together  at  these  assemblies. 


IV 

THE   FIRST   AMERICAN    REGIMENT,    OR 
"QUEENS    HANGERS" 

The  excellent  services  of  the  "  Queen's  Rangers  "  during  the 
American  Revolutionary  War  of  1775-85  deserve  some  special 
allusion.  It  was  originally  raised  for  the  war  in  Connecticut 
and  the  vicinity  of  New  York  by  Colonel  Rogers. 

Its  ranks  were  filled  eventually  with  loyalists,  both  colonists 


414      SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

and  old  country  men ;  and,  when  disbanded,  a  number  of  its 
officers  were  men  who  had  left  their  estates  and  settlements  in 
Virginia  to  join  it. 

Lieut.-Colonel  Simcoe,  then  a  captain  in  the  40th  Regi- 
ment, with  provincial  rank  of  major,  obtained  the  command  of 
the  corps  in  October  1777,  after  it  had  already  been  frequently 
engaged  and  had  suffered  heavily  at  the  battle  of  Brandy  wine 
(llth  September  1777),  a  British  victory,  after  which  Phila- 
delphia was  occupied,  and  in  which  Colonel  Simcoe  had  been 
also  severely  wounded  while  leading  his  company  of  the  40th. 

No  one  can  read  the  history  of  the  operations  of  this  corps 
— published  by  Colonel  Simcoe  in  1787 — giving  an  account  of 
the  manner  in  which  the  different  arms  composing  it  were  in- 
structed and  handled,  without  seeing  that  Colonel  Simcoe  him- 
self was,  as  a  commanding  officer,  very  much  in  advance  of  the 
prevailing  military  ideas  of  his  time. 

In  1779,  as  a  reward  for  the  "  faithful  services  and  spirited 
conduct "  of  the  corps,  the  rank  of  the  officers  was  made  per- 
manent in  America,  and  the  regiment  was  styled  and  numbered 
"  The  1st  American  Regiment,"  or  "  Queen's  Rangers." 

Colonel  Simcoe's  ability  and  skill  as  its  leader  were  fully 
recognised  by  the  Government,  and  had  he  lived  he  would  most 
probably  have  risen  to  great  distinction.  After  he  had  become 
a  Lieutenant-General,  and  had  retired  from  the  appointment 
of  Lieutenant-Governor  of  Upper  Canada,  and  subsequently  of 
Governor  and  Commander-in-Chief  of  St.  Domingo,  he  was  (in 
1806,  when  the  French  were  threatening  Portugal),  sent  to  the 
Tagus  to  concert  with  Lord  St.  Vincent  as  to  measures  of 
defence,  and  had  been  appointed  Commander-in-Chief  in  India 
when  he  suddenly  died  on  his  passage  home  from  Portugal  at 
the  age  of  fifty-four. 

The  corps  of  Queen's  Rangers  was  composed  of  both  cavalry 
and  infantry,  and  frequently  had  light  guns  attached  to  it  as 
well. 

When  at  its  greatest  strength,  it  consisted  of  two  troops  of 
dragoons,  added  on  25th  August  1780  ;  a  body  of  "  Huzzars  " ; 
eleven  companies  of  infantry,  viz. — eight  ordinary  companies,  a 
grenadier  company,  a  light  infantry  company,  and  a  company 


AI'I'KXDIX 

of  Highlanders,  with  a  3-pounder  light  gun  and  r\n  "  amu/ette  v  1 
attached.      Occasionally  a  6-pounder  gun   accompanied   it,   but 
the  guns  were  worked  by  artillerymen  and   did  not  to; 
manent  part  of  the  corps." 

The  companies  were  very  fully   oilircred  in   proportion  to 
their  strength,  which  in  Colonel  Simcoe's  opinion  **  |> 
preservation  of  the  corps  in  many  trying  >it  nations."    They 
weak  in  numbers,  and  the  regiment  probably  m  <  ded 

in  the  actual  field  .">()()  efficient  men,  but  tlu-M-  were  con>tantlv 
employed  on   outpost  and    light    infantry   duties,  and   ho\\  • 
inclement    the   weather,    the   infantry    (Colonel    Simcoe    I 
"  seldom  marched  less  than  ninety  miles  a  wet •;. 

The  corps  was  a  light,  or  what  was  termed  a  "partisan  " 
one,  and  was  admirably  adapted  for  scouting  duty,  then-  being 
hardly  a  district  in  which  it  operated  which  was  not  intimately 
known  to  some  of  the  officers  and  men  in  it. 

The  dress  was  green,  a  green  waistcoat  with  thin  sleeves 
being  worn  as  a  fighting  dress  in  warm  weather,  and  an  outer 
coat  with  sleeves  provided  to  be  put  over  it  in  winter.  The 
Highland  Company  retained  its  national  dre>s.  and  had  iN  |)i}>er. 

After  the  execution  of  Major  Andre,  and  in  his  memory, 
black  and  white  feathers  were  worn  in  the  head-dress.8 

The  corps  was  repeatedly  engaged  with  the  enemy,  and 
suffered  in  consequence  a  good  deal  of  loss.  On  the  ^!(ith  June 
17S1,  it  lost  ten  killed  and  twenty-three  wounded  in  an  affair 
near  Williamsburg,  Virginia,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  \Yilliam 
and  Mary  College.  This  affair  took  place  at  the  forks  of  the 
road  between  Williamsburg  and  Jame.stown  in  Virginia,  and 
termed  the  "  Action  at  Spencer's  Ordinary." 

In  it  all  arms  of  the  "Queen's  Rai  _  re  engaged  and 

successfully  repulsed  three  times  their  numbers  of  the  Manjuis 
de  La  Fayette's  army.  A  casualty  in  the  action  caused  the 

1  An  ainuzette  was  a  light  brass  field  gun  throwing  a  hall  of  about 
\  Ib.  in  weight,  and  was  found  of  use  no  doubt  un>:  hat  similar 
circumstances  as  the  Boer  "  Pom-l'om-  "  were  in  the  recent  war  in  South 
Africa. 

2  It  appears  that  Col.  Simcoe  turned  some  of  his  light  infantry  into 
mounted  infantry  on  certain  occasion-. 

1  A  picture  of  Cornet — afterwards  Colonel — Jarvis  in  the  dress  of  the 
Queen's  Rangers,  shows  these  feathers,  and  on  his  cross  belt  are  the 

letters    ^  ,,,  probably  meaning  "  Pra^non-.  (^i;rri:'>  Il.-i; ... 


416     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

vacant   commission,   to    which    my   grandfather,    Christopher 
Robinson,  was  appointed  from  this  date. 

After  a  career  of  many  successes,  it  was  its  fate  to  form 
part  of  Lord  Cornwallis's  army,  which  was  besieged  in  York- 
town,  and,  on  the  surrender  of  that  place  in  October  1781,  it 
was  cantoned  at  Long  Island. 

At  the  peace  of  1783  it  was  disbanded  in  Nova  Scotia,  the 
officers  being  placed  on  half-pay,  and  their  provincial  rank  made 
permanent  in  the  British  army. 

The  value  of  its  services  cannot  be  better  shown  than  by 
quoting  the  following  letter  from  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  the  Com- 
mander-in-Chief,  to  Lord  George  Germaine,  Secretary  of 
State  :— 

CHARLESTON,  SOUTH  CAROLINA,  13th  May  1780. 

"Lieutenant-Colonel  Simcoe  has  been  at  the  head  of  a 
battalion  since  October  1777,  which  since  that  time  has  been  the 
perpetual  advance  of  the  army. 

"  The  history  of  the  corps  under  his  command  is  a  series  of 
gallant,  skilful,  and  successful  enterprises  against  the  enemy, 
without  a  single  reverse.  The  Queen's  Rangers  have  killed  or 
taken  twice  their  own  numbers.  Colonel  Simcoe  himself  has 
been  thrice  wounded,  and  I  do  not  scruple  to  assert  that  his 
successes  have  been  no  less  the  fruit  of  the  most  extensive  know- 
ledge of  his  profession,  which  study  and  the  experience  within 
his  reach  could  give  him,  than  of  the  most  watchful  attention 
and  shining  courage." 

And  again,  in  recommending  the  claims  of  the  Queen^s 
Rangers  for  British  rank  and  establishment,  Sir  Henry  Clinton 
says  that  he  does  so  in  justice  to  his  country,  "that  in  case  of 
future  war,  it  might  not  be  deprived  of  the  services  of  such  a 
number  of  excellent  officers." 

In  consequence  of  these  representations,  the  rank  of  the 
officers,  previously  only  held  in  America,  was  made  universal 
and  permanent  on  25th  December  1782,  and  the  corps,  cavalry 
and  infantry,  enrolled  in  the  British  army. 

Among  the  officers  from  Virginia  in  this  corps  was  Captain 
Saunders,  under  whose  immediate  command  my  grandfather 
served  at  one  time  ;  and  I  give  below  the  list  of  officers  as  they 
appear  in  the  British  Army  List  of  1783  shortly  before  the 
disbandment  of  the  regiment. 


„  „ 

„  „ 


V 


APPENDIX  417 

FIRST  AMERICAN   KKUIMEXT  (OR  QUEEN'S  R 

Lieutenant-Colonel  Comt.  John  Graves  Simr  nental 

Rank  25th  I)rcvml>. 
Army  Hank  li)lh  Din-mb.-r  T 

Captain  John  Saumk-rs,         Regimental  Rank  25th  l).v    1 

„       David  Shank,  „  „  „ 

„       Thomas  Ivie  Cooke,         „ 
Lieutenant  Allan  M'N.-ib,  „ 

„          George  Albies,  „  „  „ 

„  John  Wilson,  ..  ,.  „ 

„          George  Spencer,          „  „  „ 

„  William  Digby  Lawler,  „ 

Cornet  Benjamin  Thompson,         ,,  „  „ 

„      Thomas  Merritt,  „  „ 

„      Benjamin  Murison  Woolsey,  „  „ 

„      William  Jarvis,  „  „ 

„      Samuel  Clayton,  „  „  „ 

Adjutant  William  Digby  Lawler,  „  „ 

Major  Richard  Armstrong,  „  „  „ 

Captain  John  Mackay,  „  ..  „ 

„       Francis  Stephenson,  „  „  „ 

„       Robert  M'Crea, 

„       James  Murray,  „  „  „ 

„       James  Kerr,  „  „  „ 

„       Stair  Agnew,  „  „ 

„       JohnM'Gill, 

„       Samuel  Smith,  „  „  „ 

„       John  Whitlock,  „  .,  „ 

..       ./Eneas  Shaw,  „  „  „ 

„       Hon.  Ben.  Wallop  (in  second),  „  „ 

Lieutenant  George  £)rmond,         „  „  „ 

„          William  Atkinson,      „  „  „ 

„  Nathaniel  Fitzpatrick,  „  „ 

„          Thomas  Murray,         „  „  „ 

„          Alexander  Matheson,  „  „  „ 

„          George  Pendred,          ..  „ 

„  Charles  Dunlop,  ..  „  „ 

„  Hugh  Mackay,  „  „ 

2D 


418     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

Lieutenant  Adam  Allen,       Regimental  Rank  25th  Dec.  1782. 

„          Richard  Holland,  „  „  „ 

„  Caleb  Howe,  „  „  „ 

„  Andrew  M'Can,  „  „  „ 

„  St.  John  Dunlop,  „  „  „ 

Ensign  Swift  Armstrong,  „  „  „ 

„      Nathaniel  Munday,  „  „  „ 

„      Charles  Henry  Miller,  „  „  „ 

„      John  Ross,  „  „  „ 

„      Andrew  Armstrong,  „  „  „ 

„      Edward  Murray,  „  „  „ 

„      Creighton  M'Crea,  „  „  „ 

„      Christopher  Robinson,  „  „  „ 

„      Charles  Matheson,  „  „  „ 

Chaplain  John  Agnew,  „  „  „ 

Adjutant  George  Ormond,  „  „  „ 

Qr.-Master  George  Hamilton,  „  „  „ 

Surgeon  Alexander  Kelloch,  „  „  „ 

Agent,  Mr.  Wilkinson  at  General  Conway's. 

The  names  on  the  first  part  of  the  above  list  are  apparently 
those  of  the  cavalry  portion  of  the  corps  at  this  date  (1783), 
but  I  think  that  some  of  the  officers  had  served  also  with  the 
infantry  branch.  The  date  of  regimental  rank,  25th  December 
(Christmas  Day)  1782,  is  the  date  on  which  that  rank  was 
granted  in  the  British  army. 

Some  years  after  the  disbandment  of  the  corps,  another,  to 
which  the  same  name  was  given,  was  raised  in  Canada. 

The  colours  of  the  corps  are  now  in  possession  of  Colonel 
Simcoe^s  descendants  at  Wolford,  near  Honiton,  Devon,  where 
I  saw  them  in  1897. 

V 

THE  UNION  BILL  OF  1839 

Grounds  of  Objection  to  some  of  its  Provisions  apart  from  the 
main  Measure  of  the  Union. 

As  to  the  new  districts  and  the  formation  of  Distric 
Councils,  provided  for  in  the  above  bill,  my  father  writes  thi 
in  "  Canada  and  the  Canada  Bill " :— 


APPENDIX  11!) 

"Canada    has    for    yean    been    divided  into   districts.     In 
Upper  Canada  alone  there  are  more  than  t wdve.  each  ! 
divided  into  counties  corresponding  in  most    respects   in   nature 
and  design   to   English  counties,  with   their  bodies  of  Magis- 
trates, Courts,  \e. 

"  The  twenty  districts  of  Canada  now  existing  co\ 
of  not  less   than  the  eighty-five   counties    into    which    ( • 
Britain  is  divided  for  purposes  exactly  similar. 

"  If  it  be  intended  that  the  present  division  into  districts 
shall  cease  when  the  new  Act  comes  into  effect  there  can  be  no 
(ion  that  as  regards  Upper  Canada  at  least,  the  bill,  in  its 
present  form,  ought  never  to  become  a  law:  1st,  it  mak< 
provision  whatever  for  the  administration  of  justice  within 
Quebec,  Montreal,  Toronto,  and  Kingston;  Mud,  it  make>  no 
provision  for  the  future  discharge  of  duties  which  are  now 
performed  by  the  various  civil  authorities  in  each  of  the  several 
districts,  and  which  are  not  of  a  nature  to  l>e  superintended 
by  a  merely  legislative  body  like  the  District.  Councils; 
the  councils  would  have  authority  to  appropriate  the  district 
funds  raised  under  the  present  laws,  and  so  the  m 
would  be  left  without  the  means  of  performing  the  duties  now 
entrusted  to  them;  4th,  which  is  even  more  material,  it  i- 
wholly  out  of  the  question  that  this  range  of  duties,  including 
the  administration  of  justice,  civil  and  criminal,  can  be  dis- 
charged within  such  extensive  circles  of  territory  as  are  pro- 
posed by  the  Act,  with  a  due  regard  to  the  interests  and 
convenience  of  the  inhabitants." 

As  to  the  creation  of  "  Elective  Councils"  in  each  district, 
he  writes: — "I  cannot  think  it  possible  that  this  provision  as 
to  Elective  Councils,  though  the  details  occupy  a  fourth  part 
of  the  bill  which  has  been  introduced,  will,  after  due  con- 
sideration, be  retained  in  any  Act  that  shall  be  pa»ed  for  the 
future  government  of  Canada.  .  .  . 

"The  powers  and  duties  of  such  councils  could  not  fail  to 
bring  them  most  inconveniently  into  collision  with  the  pro- 
vincial legislature  and  the  local  magistracy;  and  the  elec 
to  these  councils,  which  would  be  recurring  annually  through- 
out the  whole  colony,  would  keep  the  country  in  a  perpetual 
state  of  agitation  and  excitement. 


420     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

"  It  is  evident  also  that  they  would  subject  the  people  to 
great  expense.  The  fox  in  the  fable  objected  to  having  the 
swarm  of  flies  driven  away  that  were  filling  themselves  with 
his  blood,  because  he  apprehended  that  a  new  swarm  would 
succeed  to  them,  which,  being  active  and  empty,  would  soon 
take  from  him  the  little  he  had  left.  This  bill,  with  less  con- 
sideration for  the  people,  would  introduce  a  second  swarm 
to  prey  (as  the  report  would  have  us  to  apprehend)  upon 
the  life-blood  of  the  commonwealth,  without  driving  away 
the  first." 

The  restrictions  under  which  the  bill  placed  the  councils 
would  not,  he  argued,  prove  effective. 

As  to  the  determination  of  the  districts  and  electoral 
divisions  by  means  of  arbitrators  (two  for  each  province  and 
an  umpire),  provided  for  in  the  bill,  he  writes : — 

"  This  is  a  very  important  clause,  for  upon  the  operation  of 
this  provision  it  depends  whether  those  who  are  favourable  to 
the  measure  of  uniting  the  Provinces  would  be  likely  to  see 
those  advantages  realised  which  they  have  been  led  to  expect 
from  it.  It  is  this  clause  which  lays  the  foundation  of  the  new 
constitution  so  far  as  this  result  is  concerned. 

"  By  giving  to  the  arbitrators  the  power  of  creating  the 
electoral  divisions,  and  assigning  to  them  their  boundaries, 
the  bill  leaves  it  to  depend  on  their  discretion  how  the 
Assembly  shall,  in  the  first  instance  at  least,  be  composed— 
except  that  it  places  restrictions  upon  them  in  the  exercise 
of  their  discretion.1 

"  The  Government  knows  what  population  Lower  Canada 
contains,  and  they  know  also  the  population  of  Upper  Canada ; 
the  extent  of  the  several  counties  in  both  provinces;  the 
manner  in  which  the  population  is  distributed  among  them ; 
how  that  population  is  at  present  composed ;  in  what  pro- 
portions the  representation  is  distributed ;  upon  what  prin- 
ciples and  by  what  laws  it  is  regulated — all  these  circumstances 
are  well  known  to  the  Government. 


1  These  restrictions,  as  in  the  case  of  those  under  which  the  District 
Councils  were  placed,  he  viewed  as  insufficient  for  their  purpose,  explain- 
ing his  reasons  for  this  view. 


> 


APPENDIX  421 

"Then  why  devolve  upon  arbitrators  a  discretionary  power 
of  this  kind,  upon  the  right  exercise  of  which  it  is  certain  that 
everything  must  depend. 

"Besides  the  uncertainty  of  attaining  a  sati>factor\ 
through  an   arbitration,   it    is  prudent   to   consider   that 
method  of  proceeding,  if  it  is  to  answer  the  desired   object, 
will  be  beyond   measure  the  most  invidious  course,  and  such 
as  must  be  attended  with   much  greater  difficulty   than  the 
other." 

As  to  the  proposed  alteration  in  the  constitution  of  the 
Legislative  Council  (Upper  House),  he  writes : — 

It  certainly  seems  not  a  little  singular  that  at  the 
time  when  it  is  proposed  to  add  greatly  to  the  weight  of  the 
representative  branch  of  the  Legislature  in  Canada,  by  con- 
centrating it  in  one  assembly  more  numerous  than  anv  other 
similar  body  in  the  British  Colonies,  it  >houlcl  be  thought 
prudent  to  diminish  the  weight  of  the  other  branch  of  the 
Legislature  by  destroying  its  claim  to  independence,  and  by 
placing  its  members  every  eight  years  at  the  pleasure  of  the 
Crown,  or  (as  the  bill  is  in  effect)  at  the  mercv  of  the 
Governor. 

That  the  members  shall  hold  their  office  but  for  eight 
ears,  and  at  the  end  of  that  time  may  be  reappointed  or  not 
at  the  pleasure  of  the  Government,  appears  to  be  a  new  inven- 
tion in  government,  adopted  apparently  from  the  practice  in 
some  joint-stock  companies.  It  certainly  would  tend  to  sink 
as  low  as  it  could  well  be  sunk  the  character  of  the  members  of 
the  Legislative  Council  for  independence  of  conduct ;  and  it  is 
difficult  to  understand  in  what  point  of  view  it  can  have  been 
thought  to  be  an  improvement  upon  the  constitution. 

"  Instead  of  holding  their  seats,  as  they  now  do,  on  a 
tenure  that  enables  them  fearlessly  to  stand  between  their 
fellow-subjects  and  any  danger  that  may  threaten  tin  in.  either 
from  an  arbitrary  government  on  the  one  hand,  or  from  a  rash 
and  unwise  popular  body  on  the  other,  they  would  be  fairly 
Warned  that,  during  the  eight  years,  they  must  so  shape  their 
course  as  to  give  no  offence. 

"When  the  period  should  come  round,  if  by  an  honest 
discharge  of  their  duty  they  shall  have  drawn  upon  themselves 


422     SIR  JOHN  BEVERLEY  ROBINSON 

the  denunciations  of  the  Assembly,  a  weak  governor  will  shrink 
from  reappointing  them  from  timidity;  if,  by  resisting  some 
unwise  and  injurious  proposition  of  the  Government,  they  shall 
have  incurred  his  displeasure,  an  arbitrary  governor  would 
abandon  them  from  resentment.'1'' 

As  to  the  proposed  substitution  of  the  term  "  President " 
for  "  Speaker,"  he  writes : — 

"The  latter  is  the  correct  English  designation  for  this 
officer  in  the  upper  branch  of  the  legislature  as  well  as  in 
the  other.  It  certainly  cannot  be  an  advantage  to  destroy 
unnecessarily  any  point  of  resemblance,  even  in  form  or  name, 
between  the  representative  constitution  in  the  colonies  and  in 
the  mother  country."" 

As  to  the  proposal  to  concede  to  the  colonial  legislature 
the  power  to  pass  laws  as  to  prorogation  and  dissolution  of  the 
Houses  of  Parliament,  he  writes : — 

"  This  clause  may  appear  unimportant  to  some  persons,  but 
not  to  any  whose  judgment  and  experience  enable  them  to 
estimate  its  possible  consequences. 

"The  prerogative  of  the  Crown,  as  it  applies  to  the  dis- 
solution of  the  representative  branch,  is  of  importance  :  it  is 
part  of  the  law  and  constitution  of  Parliament. 

"  In  the  Canadas  this  prerogative  has  been  very  sparingly 
used ;  and  I  imagine  that  the  framers  of  this  bill  had  no  other 
instance  of  it  in  their  recollection  than  the  one  which  occurred 
two  or  three  years  ago  in  Upper  Canada,  which  was  very 
remarkable,  both  in  respect  to  the  occasion,  and  the  conse- 
quences of  the  measure. 

"  In  1836,  the  Assembly,  in  order  to  reduce  the  Govern- 
ment to  an  implicit  compliance  with  their  will,  refused  to  vote 
a  shilling  to  support  the  ordinary  charges  of  the  civil  govern- 
ment; and  at  the  same  time  they  passed  resolutions  en- 
couraging and  applauding  the  party  in  Lower  Canada,  who 
were  evidently  driving  the  people  to  the  most  desperate  courses. 
Fortunately  the  King  had  a  representative  in  the  government 
of  the  province,1  who  saw  clearly  the  course  which  his  duty  to 


1  Sir  Francis  Bond  Head,  Lieut-Governor  of  Upper  Canada,  1836-38. 


APPENDIX  423 

the  country  demanded,  and  who  had  the  man 
not  to  shrink  from  it.  He  dissolved  the  A»tmhl\;  thousands 
of  their  constituents  had,  by  public  addresses,  entreated  him  to 
do  so;  and  a  great  majority  of  the  population  ivjoiced  to  see 
the  prerogative  used,  which  the  constitution  had  placed  in  his 
hands  in  order  to  meet  such  exigencies. 

"  It  need  hardly  be  asked,  whether  the  Assembly  which  had 
been  dissolved  would  have  passed  those  laws  which  enabled  the 
Government  to  meet  the  dangers  of  the  time." 

As  to  the  proposal  to  attach  Gaspe  and  the  Magdalen 
Islands  to  New  Brunswick,  he  writes: — 

"As  it  is  an  important  change  for  the  inhabitants  of  a 
country  to  place  them  under  a  new  government  and  jurisdic- 
tion, it  would  seem  proper  that  the  motives  for  detaching  them 
from  Lower  Canada — which  I  believe  to  be  reasonable  and 
sufficient — should  be  stated  in  the  Act. 

"  I  am  not  aware  what  may  be  the  particular  reasons  for 
attaching  the  Magdalen  Islands  to  the  province  of  New 
Brunswick  rather  than  to  Prince  Edward  Island,  or  to  Nova 
Scotia  by  incorporating  them  with  Cape  Breton,  either  of 
which  arrangement  would  seem  to  be  more  convenient,  looking 
only  to  relative  position." 


VI